Since my arrival on campus almost eight months ago, I have made it a top priority to convene with as many students as time will allow. My goal is to hear directly from them what they would like to see in the Powerhouse. As many of you know, the Powerhouse is an ambitious project that endeavors to be many things (a student union, a recreation center, an athletic facility) but at its core, it is a building dedicated to enhancing the overall student experience. With that in mind, I wanted to highlight one of the changes to the Powerhouse offerings that has taken shape from student feedback.
During my third week on campus, I met with a group of students who work as Learning Assistants in the Learning Enrichment and Disability Services Office. They were both curious and optimistic about what the Powerhouse would offer. After discussing all the spaces and potential programs, I posed the question, “What would you like to have in the Powerhouse that is not currently in the plans?” Without hesitation, Ike Johnson almost jumped out her chair declaring “CONVENIENCE STORE”! She was met with unanimous agreement from her cohorts. I heard them loud and clear and made the determination to pose this same question to each student I met thereafter. Most students agreed that a convenience store would add some real value to on campus life.
So I began exploring this option to see what could be done this late into the project. Enlisting the support of our on-campus dining service providers, Bon Appetit, and leveraging the creative mind of Powerhouse project manager Dan Schooff, we re-imagined a space in the front of the building. The result is a 24-hour accessible vending machine convenience store called a Smart Market. To add an additional feature, we set out to ensure that students could use their flex dollars on the machines. Students can also pay with personal credit and debit cards.
Items offered in the Smart Market range from snacks, beverages, toiletry items, medications, hygiene products, and more. If you would like to provide feedback as to what items you would like to be offered, please email Steve Robinson, Powerhouse Director: firstname.lastname@example.org