All Organic? College Bubbas Mad, Real Mad

A new all-organic convenience store at Penn State is rankling the feathers of students who say they want traditional offerings as well, according to The Daily Collegian, a student newspaper at the university.

The new shop, called Sisu, has angered some students, such as Steve Karolewics and Bennet Huber, who have decided to boycott the store.

Karolewics told Daily Collegian reporter Gina Cherundolo that organic and all-natural food may have a place on campus, but the overall execution of the idea at the store was poor.

"We’re hoping to get fewer people to shop there," Huber said. "We’re getting awareness out about it and let them know we’re not happy."

Bob Nagel is also opposed to Sisu. He said the monopoly of organic food products limits options. "There is plenty of room to put other options on the shelves," he said. "[The organic food] should be an option, not an ultimatum."

The newspaper reported that the decision to change the store’s format was made by food services. "We didn’t get a say in the matter," a student told the newspaper. "There was no student input as far as I know."

Assistant Director of Food Services Jen Krise said the creation of the store came from student surveys. Some students raised issues with the peanut butter and jelly offering, saying some people could be allergic to it.

Others said some students are inconvenienced because they now have to travel to other areas on campus for non-organic food.

"I’ve ended up stockpiling Gatorade in my room by the dozens," one student said.

Students have also commented about the prices of the merchandise the store carries. For instance, three ounces of organic chocolate cost $4.79.

Student Erika Lieberknecht, a Sisu customer, said the store is an overall positive change, and likes what there is to offer, though the selection and prices of the merchandise are going to limit how often she can buy.

Rich Williams, a full-time Sisu employee, said he can feel the students’ pain about the change, but encouraged them to keep an open mind about it. "There is a difference between ‘organic’ and ‘healthy,’” he said.

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