August 6, 2018
Home-grown coffee and hospitality company, Saxbys, and West Chester University are bringing their innovative Experiential Learning Program (ELP) to the institution’s main campus with a brand-new, exclusively student-run cafe, opening at 7 AM on Monday, August 6, at 701 South High Street in West Chester.
Saxbys first introduced its ELP initiative in 2015 to embolden the next generation of entrepreneurs, providing undergraduate students with tangible experience as a supplement to traditional classroom learning, and further supporting the brand’s core mission to “Make Life Better” in the communities it serves. WCU is the sixth cafe location and fifth partner institution in Pennsylvania to offer the program.
Each Saxbys ELP cafe is exclusively student-run and helmed by a Student Cafe Executive Officer (SCEO) who is supported and empowered to develop their peers into team leaders, ideate and implement creative marketing initiatives, strengthen relationships with community organizations and enact change with meaningful social impact outreach. All the while, the students are responsible for managing their peers, overseeing all cafe operations, and presenting profit and loss statements monthly to Saxbys’ Executive Team.
Each SCEO in the program receives ongoing mentorship and training, wages, bonus opportunities, and full credit for the semester, but that is just the quantifiable surface. Underscoring the brand’s core mission to “Make Life Better,” Saxbys ELP is instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in undergrads, namely, the willingness and ability to take risks and drive change towards the productivity of a business and the betterment of its community.
“West Chester University actively promotes learning beyond the classroom by empowering undergrads and inspiring the entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” said Nick Bayer, Founder and CEO of Saxbys. “We are thrilled to expand Saxbys’ Experiential Learning Program with an institution that mirrors our company’s values and commitment to providing both education and opportunities through the lens of what we call the 3 Pillars of successful organizations: Team Development, Community Leadership and Financial Management.”
Kelly Ingram, a senior Business Management major, will serve as the cafe’s inaugural SCEO. The Quakertown, Pennsylvania native served in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps on the West Coast following high school and went on to attend Bucks County Community college prior to enrolling at West Chester University. Now, as SCEO, she will lead a team of 45 peers.
Ingram will be supported in her role by Chad Cohen, a Marketing major at WCU who will be Cafe Operating Officer and who has been working with Saxbys for six months while receiving full academic credit for his experience. Cohen will offer training resources and operational support to West Chester’s ELP location on an ongoing basis.
“Thank you to Saxbys for selecting West Chester University as its partner in this important entrepreneurial venture,” says West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino. “WCU is quite pleased to be able to collaborate with such a visionary company in order to help students directly apply what they are currently learning in the classroom to a professional setting. By using critical thinking skills, problem solving, effective communication, and team building, West Chester University students working in the new Experiential Learning cafe will be able to tackle a variety of work situations upon graduation. This learning-working laboratory is the perfect complement to the University’s General Education Learning Outcomes, as well as the overall goals of our Division of Student Affairs.”
This location marks Saxbys’ second within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The State System’s 20-member Board of Governors is responsible for oversight of the State System and establishes broad educational, fiscal, and personnel policies.
“Student success is the top strategic priority for the State System and for each of our 14 universities,” said David Maser, Vice Chair of the Board of Governors and Chair of the Student Success Committee. “As we work to redesign our system for the future, we are embracing innovative ideas—such as this one—to ensure our students are more prepared than ever to succeed after they graduate.”
In the weeks to come, Saxbys and WCU look forward to announcing a lineup of alumni who will serve as Celebrity Baristas for special event programming on campus this fall.