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The Green Bean (Fall 2009 Article)

Since the beginning of the sustainability trend on college campuses, Emory has
defined sustainable programming and building as a major priority. A few years ago, the Office of Sustainability Initiatives began to offer grants to students with ideas for environmental projects on campus, and in 2007 junior Addie Davis and sophomore Sally Mengel applied. Wanting to do something big, they drew up a
business plan for a student-run coffee cart that would provide an ethical alternative for coffee consumption on campus. By taking a daily activity and joining it with grassroots education for fellow students, they hoped to reach a large community.
The application was approved, and they were given money to buy a used coffee cart. Originally called Second Nature coffee, the name was changed to the Green Bean, and the cart opened under the DUC in February 2008. Sally always referred to the cart as a “non-profit business student club group” because of its hybrid nature.
The cart took some time to get up and running, and it took a great deal of advertising in the first few months to get the word out about where the cart was located. As a democratically-run business, all employees are encouraged to provide input on any changes to the cart—adding iced coffee, changing the hours, and even changing the color of our beloved T-shirts. We strive to work with Sodexo, Emory Dining, and the university while maintaining independence and a high level of student input. This means working towards making the cart a profitable enterprise. Since beginning to take Dining Dollars this fall, our sales have already increased dramatically and we hope our recent move to Cannon Chapel will continue to increase our sales while bringing more visibility to the cart.
The Green Bean is not just about “greenwashing”…we’re not selling a label or a name just to make people feel better. We really care about the issues and believe that what we’re doing can make a difference. We’re also about ethical consumerism, making an effort to ensure that everything we sell comes from someone who was paid a fair wage to work under fair conditions. Working for the coffee cart is about being a part of something way bigger than we are. Maybe we can’t exactly achieve social justice with a cup of coffee, but it’s definitely a good place to start.

Outside Cannon Chapel
Visit these sites to learn more:
Coffee: http://www.counterculturecoffee.com/
Milk: http://www.sparkmanscreamvalley.com/
– Chelsea Duttweiler and Emily Cumbie-Drake


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