issues at Sophie’s Cafe deter many students from returning – The Elm

issues at Sophie’s Cafe deter many students from returning – The Elm


By Belle Leiphart

Elm Staff Writer

Sophie’s Cafe is a widely-used resource for students for many years. Whether one is walking to class before Java George has opened, craving a midnight snack, or studying in the library, Sophie’s Cafe has been a great convenience to the students of Washington College.

Over the summer, however, Sophie’s Cafe made some changes. They dropped their previous payment system Canteen for Parlevel’s American Vending. The previous system was easy to use and versatile. Students could pay with cash, card, or scan a card connected to an app that you could fund.

The new system, however, has some issues. Students reported being overcharged, charged multiple times and not given change. These issues are leading students to use this resource less often.

“I’ve been overcharged a couple of times…I don’t really use Sophie’s anymore because of that,” junior David Estes said.

If this continues, is it possible that Sophie’s Cafe will be phased out or restocked much less often? Open twenty-four hours a day, Sophie’s Cafe has been a saving grace for countless students and is imperative to student life. 

This begs the question: why was the system changed? There weren’t any apparent issues with the previous check-out system.

The change is most likely due to the recent switch to AVI Foodsystems in the dining hall and other meal places on campus.

According to many students on campus, it is not the system that needs to be changed, but what is being offered.

“I think we should have more refrigerated options like meals in case you do not get a chance to go to the dining hall…I would like to see a wider variety of options that vary from Java [George]. As well [as] having more dessert options,” junior Riley Murray said.

Since Sophie’s Cafe is open twenty-four hours a day, it is an excellent substitute for students who want to eat meals when the dining hall is not open. However, they usually only offer a few meal options; and when they offer them, they are gone quickly. Offering a larger variety as well as a higher quantity of meals will not only feed more students, but result in more revenue for the school.

“I wish they had healthier options. They usually only have old fruit cups and maybe something like oatmeal,” Estes said.

Introducing healthier options also seems like an important and obvious step for WC to take. Their new dining service advertises healthier, more diverse options, but that doesn’t appear to extend far outside of the dining hall. Even Java George, who has increased their stock, seems to deal mostly in chips, candy, and the same prepackaged food.

If you have had an issue with the new check-out system at Sophie’s Cafe, or want to advocate for healthier, better, and more diverse food and drink options, we highly encourage writing to dining services via your school email.

Photo courtesy Katie Tack

Photo Caption: Changes to the dining hall this summer led to new products and software at Sophie’s Café, located in the Miller Library. Many students have complained about the lack of certain products or being overcharged.


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