Caffeine is the lifeblood of college students across the nation. During a normal semester at Ohio Northern University, there are three opportunities to grab coffee: Macintosh Center (Polar Espresso), Heterick Memorial Library (Northern Lights), and Cosi. Macintosh hosts the kiosk from 9:00am-2:30pm before the library takes over at 3:00pm, and Cosi remains open from 7:30am-8:00pm. The lines at the two kiosks can be longer than Cosi’s at lunch, which is not conducive to social distancing. Many students and faculty would run to the open kiosks between classes and meetings.

The main barrier to keeping kiosks open is the limited space for customers to wait for their order. Polar Espresso had no feasible way to increase its waiting area and unfortunately had to close. Northern Lights, on the other hand, has the advantage of using large windows that enclose the kiosk. As compared to bricks, windows are far easier to remove, reframe, and replace. Removing the windows at Northern Lights to create an outside walk-up window allowed a unique opportunity to quadruple the waiting room size.

A student waits by the walk-up window for her order. (Northern Review/Harleigh Bellmann)

Reception to the new window has been generally positive from students and the campus employees, but there’s still room for improvement. For Katelyn Tanguay and Jenn Gudakunst, two sodexo employees who are often found at Northern Lights, the window has a lot of potential, but the execution could use some work.

Katelyn: “I like the window, but I wish that we had more staff on the morning shift. It is very hectic and busy sometimes and a lot to handle at once.”

Katelyn Tanguay gets ready to take another order. (Northern Review photo/Harleigh Bellmann)

Jenn: “I think the window is awesome! I think it’s convenient for students to just stop by. But I just feel bad when we’re busy both inside and out. There’s usually only two of us so it takes a while to get everything made.”

Jenn Gudakunst smiles for the camera while she waits for the expresso machine to finish. (Northern Review photo/Harleigh Bellmann)

Overall, the university’s decision to replace a window panel with a walk-up ordering window at Northern Lights is so convenient to students and faculty that it has led to a positive change that should be useful when and if campus returns to normal.

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