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Student-Run Cafes Add to Coffee Offerings at Pitt
Saxbys two new SCEOS

More Than Just Coffee

The average Pitt Business student is no stranger to coffee. Those early morning classes after a late night in Hillman Library may require just a little extra boost to help get slow feet out of the dorm and into class on time. Now, students have the opportunity to turn their love (or need) of coffee into a learning experience.

Saxbys is coming to the University of Pittsburgh and opening two locations: one in the basement of the Cathedral of Learning and a second on the ground floor of Hillman. The cafes will be completely student-run and, more specifically, led by two College of Business Administration undergraduate students.

Ceari Robinson (’22) and Angel Albright-Sexton (’24) are the Student Cafe Executive Officers (SCEOs) of the new Hillman and Cathedral locations, respectively, for the fall semester. They will each manage nearly 40 student employees along with all aspects of their cafe, including team development, community outreach, and financial reports.

Fun, Hard Work, Personal Growth

Robinson, a senior marketing and Italian major from Pittsburgh, originally transferred from Temple University, where she was a frequent customer of their student-run Saxbys cafes. After meeting Saxbys’ representatives at the Pitt career fair in 2020, Robinson went through four rounds of interviews before she was offered the SCEO position. She is eager to begin her role after the opening of both cafes was delayed by the pandemic.

“I was so excited to apply for this job because their cafes have such a unique energy when compared to other chain or boutique coffee shops,” says Robinson. “The teams felt like family and everyone seemed to be having a good time, even if there was a line coming out of the cafe. I talked to the students that had done the SCEO position and they all praised the experience for being fun but also prepared me for the hard work and personal growth that they also got out of it.”

Both SCEOs will earn competitive wages, bonus opportunities, and a full semester of college credit. 

Hands-On Learning

Albright-Sexton is a sophomore finance and human resources management major from Brownsville, Pennsylvania. She heard about the role after a Saxbys recruiter reached out to her via LinkedIn and is most looking forward to the hands-on learning aspect of the experience.

“The experiential learning platform excited me the most,” says Albright-Sexton. “It is right up my alley, so I was excited to pursue it once I learned about the platform.”

Both SCEOs anticipate challenges in bringing this new concept to campus. Purchasing trends, inventory, and customer satisfaction will all be taken on a day-by-day basis as the two work to learn and manage these responsibilities using their Pitt Business coursework and support from faculty and staff. Both Robinson and Albright-Sexton feel well-equipped for the role and look forward to meeting their management and leadership goals, including safety and inclusivity.

“My goal for the cafe is to create a safe and successful space,” says Albright-Sexton. “I want everyone to be who they are, aswell as follow our core values. After all, when you serve yourself by serving others, pride and profit grows. This is done through team members who want to be there. I want to be a leader that is approachable and understanding, while also making sure everything gets done. I want everyone to feel safe coming to me about an issue that may arise.”

Similarly, Robinson hopes to make her cafe one where people want to work with and make new friends, and intends to be “a transparent, down-to-earth leader”.

She added: “One of my goals is to create an enjoyable work environment and team member dynamic. I often feel like as college students we must sacrifice liking where we work and what we do our four years just to make money, but I want to change that. I want us all to work and respect each other not because we have to, but because we want to.”

Opportunities – and Tasty Coffee

Pitt Business prides itself on giving students experience-based learning opportunities and gaining professional exposure outside the classroom and the SCEO role is another opportunity. The duo speaks highly of their Pitt Business experience and eager to see how this position enhances it. Driven by the excitement to make new connections, as well as nurture current ones, the two hope to make their cafes spaces where the Pitt community feels at home.

“I’ll have a lot of connections I can network with in the future,” says Albright-Sexton. “I also hope to meet a lot of different people within the cafe and make some new friends.”

At the end of the day, the new Saxbys cafes will bring opportunity, connection, and tasty coffee to the Pitt community.

“I cannot wait to see all the good that comes out of students that get this position that have the desire to start their own company or like me, who have no idea what they want to do, leave not only with immense professional growth and knowledge, but personal growth, as well,” says Robinson. “This journey is just beginning for all of us though, so to see the people we are now and how we will be after six months is another rewarding aspect of this opportunity I am looking forward to.”

Make Your Mark

Saxbys is looking for motivated students to join the team, for all levels of paid positions, with flexible schedules. Click on this Panther Central link for full details and the application.