The coffee is too expensive!
An average cup of brewed coffee costs more at Uppsala University than at any comparable university in Sweden. That is a scandal. For far too long, Uppsala's students have had to buy far more expensive coffee than students in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Lund, Umeå or Malmö. Now that's enough. We must be able to study on campus without going broke.
In November, Uppsala Student Union is running a campaign to lower coffee prices and break the exclusivity of cafés on campus. Below you can read more about the campaign, our demands and how you can get behind the campaign. You can read more about the price of coffee immerse yourself in the campaign . If you want to read updates about the campaign, you can follow us on social media or read our blog.
Support the campaign!
The easiest and most important thing you can do to support the campaign is to sign our petition on the right of this page. Together we will show cafés that there is a lot of dissatisfaction and that prices must be reduced. Your vote gives us strength, just as your union membership builds our capacity to work for the good of students at Uppsala University. Not a member yet? It's easy to solve: become a member!
Few options, high prices - time for a change!
The campus is our workplace; it allows us to get away from our student flats and corridor rooms and enables a spatial separation between leisure and work. At its best, the campus makes our study time more vibrant and social, providing a meeting place for students and researchers and a physical hub for our education.
It would have been good if there was food and coffee at student-friendly prices. It does not. Nor do students have an alternative to the prices offered on campus. Going to the nearest café makes one's working day more difficult and interrupts productive moments at university. If you want to pick up a coffee during a break in a lecture, there is only one option to choose from - and it's way too expensive.
Campus cafés have a monopoly on campus. At the same time, the high prices limit the use of our own workspace. This situation is unacceptable. Prices on campus must be adjusted to the students' economy.
Uppsala Student Union therefore requires that...
... prices at the campsite cafés are reduced. Cheaper coffee would be a good start!
... student adaptation of campus cafés will be a priority for Uppsala University.
... students are represented in the procurement processes of cafés and restaurants and are consulted when such establishments are evaluated.
To get behind these demands, you can...
... sign our petition for cheaper coffee on campus.
... become a member of Uppsala Student Union to support our student political work.
... follow our social media for updates on the fight for cheaper coffee!
About the coffee campaign
The campus is the students' workplace. To fulfil its role as such, the campus needs to be an accessible and appealing place for students. An important component in achieving these values is the services available to students on the University premises.
One such service is provided by the cafés and restaurants housed on the university premises. Buying a cup of coffee, a snack or a lunch facilitates and enables a day of study at the University. These provide both energy and comfort, as well as fulfilling important social functions and breaking up otherwise monotonous days.
While this service is available to both students and university staff, student access is effectively limited by its price. Buying lunch on the Uppsala University campus, even occasionally, is neither economically attractive nor accessible to students. We must therefore resign ourselves to the fact that lunch on campus is simply not for us and kindly continue to pack boxes of food to heat - for the time being.
What's harder to buy is the price of brewed coffee. In most workplaces, coffee is taken for granted and few salaried workers would agree to pay for the cups they devour during a normal working day. We students are not so lucky. On campus, you have to pay for your coffee. But as students, being okay with funding our own coffee doesn't mean we have to be okay with being slightly ruined for the sake of our caffeine intake.
To understand why the price of coffee makes the campus less accessible and less appealing to students, it is not enough to say that coffee at Uppsala University is expensive, you also have to take into account that we as students have much less money to move around with than people in general.
If a cup of brewed coffee costs 15 SEK (as at Blåsenhus, EBC or Geocentrum) and you are modestly content with one cup per working day, this expense swallows up a fifth of your disposable income - based on SEB's budget example for students. If you are studying on one of the campuses where the university restaurants are located (i.e. BMC, Ekonomikum, Rudbecklaboratoriet and Ångströmslaboratoriet), the same amount of coffee takes up almost a quarter of your disposable income.
If you are not living on student grants but still want to get a feel for how high the price of coffee is in relation to a student budget, consider the following calculation example: if, as above, you use SEB's budget example and think that a full-time student on housing benefit has a monthly income of SEK 12290, a coffee cup for SEK 15 represents about 0.12 per cent of your total income - while a cup for SEK 23 represents 0.18 per cent. If a cup of coffee cost the same proportion of the median income in Sweden, a cup at Uppsala University's cheapest campus would cost 40 SEK, while a cup at the more expensive ones would cost 60 SEK - and that's for a small cup of brewed coffee.
Few groups in society would have accepted such a high price for coffee as readily as Uppsala University students have done so far - especially if it was the only option for drinking coffee at their respective workplaces. That said, the time for equanimity is over. Let's put our foot down. Enough of the exploitation. We want to be able to afford coffee!
Our demand for a more student-friendly price for coffee is modest to say the least. To be able to drink one cup of coffee per working day without breaking one's already stretched budget is not much to ask for. Nor are we alone in thinking that the price of coffee on campus is too high. When we talk to other student unions, only a minority feel that the prices at their respective colleges are student-friendly. At the same time, our survey has shown that the campus cafés at Uppsala University are by far the most expensive among comparable universities(read more about the survey here).
We understand that the high price of coffee is only half the problem. Of course, student grants must be increased so that students have an income sufficient for coffee - in addition to providing students with basic financial security. At the same time, there is no hiding the fact that prices at Uppsala University's campus cafés need to be adapted to students. An important first step would be to lower the price of coffee.
If cafés at Stockholm University or Lund University can serve coffee for SEK 12, so can cafés in Uppsala. At the same time, I wonder why we would settle for being anything other than the most student-friendly university. With a bit of collective willpower, we are convinced that it is possible to sell coffee for 10 kr a cup - especially if student-friendliness is placed above the profit motive of cafés on university campuses!
In addition to a proper price reduction, there are two further measures needed to start adapting the restaurant and café operations at Uppsala University to student needs. One would be to involve students in the procurement and monitoring of café and restaurant operations at the University. We know that this has happened in the past and therefore hope to start such cooperation again. Otherwise, we know that other universities have such things as café and restaurant councils in which students participate and have influence. Here, a more active cooperation between the student unions, student representatives and the board of trustees on each campus regarding café activities would play an important role. (Do you want to influence your campus? Apply for one of the vacant student representative positions on the stewardship board!)
The second measure would be to abolish the exclusivity of campus cafés on their respective campuses and allow both student unions and student associations to serve or sell coffee without having to buy it at retail prices on campus. Pluggfika, student cafés and other regular or irregular events on campus would make student life on campus more vibrant - not to mention create better conditions for student associations.
Do you think the prices are too high on Uppsala University's campus?
Follow the coffee campaign through the blog
The coffee campaign after three weeks
After a great start and an incredible response from students, we now sum up the first three weeks of the coffee campaign. Read briefly about our experience of spending two weeks out on campus and our plans for the campaign going forward. Firstly, we're not done on campus, secondly, we're picking up the dialogue with the university again and thirdly, we're getting ready to hand over the demands to the campus cafes. We also provide tips on how to further support the campaign.
The coffee campaign is launched!
Coffee at Uppsala University is far too expensive. We at Uppsala Student Union want to change that. To do so, we are launching a campaign in November to demonstrate the dissatisfaction that exists among students and how to show how expensive coffee is at Uppsala University.