By HAMZAH ALAM
Every day at lunch, students crowd in and surround the Student Store, many eager to buy one of the two flavors of slushies available to be sold that day for a buck apiece. Some are at the student store to pick up a bag of chips, or maybe to grab a spoon. However, there is also a different group of students, the people who aren’t there to get food, but rather to buy a calculator for a test they may have next period, or a composition book for English class before they get docked points for a missing journal.
The Student Store is an incredibly diverse place on campus. From cheap snacks to student necessities, it sells anything and everything a high-schooler might desire.
“The Student Store is the one-stop shop for all student needs,” said the PTSA 1st Vice President (VP) of Administration Ms. Patty Narula. “In addition to great food, we sell umbrellas, cell phone chargers and battery packs, pencil lead, calculators, notebooks, etc. Last year, the math department wanted students to buy their own compasses, so they ask us to stock compasses at the Student Store. We’re always happy to help.”
The lines at the Student Store are also not as long as those for other establishments, such as the cafeteria. “You can get in and out fairly quickly,” said Ms. Jenna Lloyd. “We always have three volunteers at the Student Store, so people get service quicker, and they can leave quicker too to keep the flow moving.”
Also, the Student Store is easy on the wallet of the typical Uni student. “The most popular item, the Slushie, also happens to be incredibly cheap, around a dollar, and we always have two flavors available everyday,” said Narula. “The least expensive are the corn nuts, Pirates Booty, chocolate pudding, cream cheese, and string cheese, which are all 50 cents,” said the 3rd VP of the Student Store Ms. Arlene Santa Maria. “Also, a scientific calculator for under 5 dollars is a great deal if you left yours at home and need one that day!”
Over the years, the Student Store has gone through many changes. “The first two years the store was in use, it experienced remarkable growth,” said Lloyd. “We could sell almost anything at the Student Store,” said Narula. “Popular items included Cup O’Noodles, hot chocolate, cookies, candy, etc. Then the Department of Education changed its rules and the Student Store was forced to comply with strict nutritional guidelines. We can’t sell food that contains too much sugar, salt or fat, like coffee, tea, gum or candy. The Student Store volunteers have worked hard to find food items that meet these nutritional guidelines, and that’s how we ended up selling Dippin’ Dots, slushies, chips, burritos, etc.”
Ever since the changes by the Department of Education, the Student Store has had to diversify the kinds of products it sells.
“We expanded our line of school supplies and personal items (like charging cords, earbuds, umbrellas, etc.) and began to really promote them too,” said Lloyd. “We added two display coolers that make it faster for the students to purchase drinks and cold snacks and easier for the volunteers to stock them too. I remember a student walking in shortly after we made these additions and saying, ‘Wow, it’s like a real store now.’”
Another important aspect of the Student Store is the the impression it leaves with students. The PTSA wants students to feel as though the Student Store is there for them, not for the profit of the school. “We volunteer for the love of the students’ well being, not for the money, since we aren’t getting paid. The many hours we volunteer at the school and off campus are for the students,” said Maria. “Sometimes students come in for a rubber band, paper clip, or just to look around. We welcome everyone and give them a friendly smile.”
“I know of a student who buys grape Outshine Fruit Bars almost daily, so I try to keep that in stock for her (in reference to senior Ysabel Mariana),” said Maria.
“We have the atmosphere of a small store, where we get to know the students and they know us.”
The Student Store is also beneficial to the school as well as its students.
“Every purchase you make at the store benefits the entire school,” said Lloyd. “Every penny over and above the cost of the store inventory, cleaning supplies, paper products and utensils goes into the PTSA’s Mini-Grant fund. Every year, the Mini-Grant program awards ALL monies to selected teachers, admin, and student groups based on the PTSA’s Mini-Grant application process. And, it pains the PTSA members that we have to tell anyone no. More sales at the student store means more money for the school!”
Some other important info concerning the Student Store is: it is open every snack and lunch, it is located between the MPR and the library, it is always accepting parent volunteers and it is always open to student suggestions in terms of what new products they could add.
Ultimately, the Student Store is a great alternative for students who dislike the long lines typical of the cafeteria, but who also do not have the time nor the luxury of going off campus to get food.
It is also a great option to get school supplies and other everyday necessities, like chargers.
“The Student Store was created to provide a safe, healthy option so students don’t have to stand in long cafeteria lines or go all the way to Albertsons,” said Narula.
“As parents, we care for the students and we want them to have everything they need on campus. It takes a lot of work to have a Student Store, but we think the students are worth it.”