How are students on campus feeling about APU’s newest on campus dining option? Students and employees share their opinions.

Shalom Cafe is one of the most recent changes to APU’s campus. The coffee shop that used to be Starbucks still serves Starbucks coffee, but now with a more personal connection to APU. 

Right when you walk in, a sign honoring former university President Jon R. Wallace alongside a picture of him hangs on the wall explaining where the coffee shop received its name. The last lines of the sign read, “May Shalom Café remind you of the potential for sacred encounters in every interaction. And in the words Jon used to close every gathering, big and small, Shalom, go with God.”

Along with Shalom’s backstory come student opinions about the atmosphere, drinks, food and overall vibe the cafe adds to APU’s campus.

“I really like the decor and the decision to dedicate it to Jon Wallace. While he wasn’t my President while I went here, I know he meant a lot to past students,” junior business management major Mikayla Hughes said.

Students have also expressed that the coffee, drinks and food are still good even though the selection has decreased. Hughes recommends the peach green tea, and junior psychology major Alyssa Valenzuela recommends the green or black tea lemonade for those who don’t like coffee.

Valenzuela also works at Shalom and has enjoyed her time there as a first time barista. “Working on campus has been even more fun than I could have imagined. My coworkers help a lot, but the general environment has been incredibly positive. It’s been a really great way to meet new people, interacting with both coworkers and customers — whether students or faculty,” she said. 

She also expressed appreciation for her coworkers, “From the beginning, they’ve been nothing but kind, welcoming, and quick to lend a helping hand. They’ve not only kept me sane during morning rushes, but they’ve become my friends outside of work as well. It sounds cheesy, but I’m truly grateful I’ve met them.”

Acacia Glover, a junior allied health major, also works at Shalom and has created a strong connection with her coworkers. “My favorite part of working at Shalom is definitely my coworkers, they really make my day when I come in for my shift and we get to play music in the background while we take orders and create a fun energy before and during each shift,” she said.

Besides coworker interactions, Glover, a former barista back in the Bay Area, has also found joy in getting to interact with customers each shift and being back in the coffee shop environment.

I did not have a job on campus freshman year so this is my first time being in the fray and interacting with a lot of people in quite a while, especially with COVID. It’s quite nice to see new faces everyday and try my hand at spelling names correctly and since it has been a while since we have been back. I always see new people every shift that I haven’t seen before.” she said.

If you’re looking for a fun new drink to try, Valenzuela recommends an iced mocha with salted cold foam and caramel drizzle. If you want something a little less sweet, Glover recommends an iced coffee with toffee nut syrup and almond milk or a latte with the same ingredients. 

While Shalom still serves Starbucks coffee, the cafe no longer sells the entire menu, further limiting food options for students. Glover says she misses the panini sandwiches from Starbucks and junior kinesiology major Katelyn Tiu says she misses the evolution orange juice sold by the company.

Along with the change from Starbucks to Shalom comes a shift in campus culture. “We don’t find comfort in going to Shalom as much as we did Starbucks freshman year,” Tiu said about her and her group of friends and the rituals they had their first year at APU.

Along with a lack of bakery items, Hughes also mentioned she misses the pictures of staff on the wall. “I liked having that personal touch, especially since they all have to wear masks and we don’t get to see their faces,” she said.

Shalom may not have the full Starbucks menu anymore, but it’s unique to APU’s campus and still serves some pretty dang good coffee.