Saxbys, Penn State Smeal partner for unique experiential learning opportunity

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has entered into a partnership with Philadelphia-based coffee and hospitality company Saxbys to open a student-managed Saxbys Experiential Learning Café in fall 2018 in the Business Building, the Smeal College of Business’ 210,000-square-foot home on the University Park campus.

As part of the Experiential Learning Program, Saxbys will employ one student each semester from the Smeal College of Business as the Student Cafe Executive Officer (SCEO). The SCEO will exclusively run the cafe and manage all aspects, including team development, community outreach initiatives, and cafe financials. They will earn a stipend as well as internship and independent study credits as part of the program. Saxbys will be hiring the inaugural SCEO this April to begin training in the summer for the cafe opening.

“Research shows that experiential learning opportunities reinforce concepts learned in the classroom. This program will immerse students in a daily hands-on business learning environment, and it aligns with Penn State’s entrepreneurship, innovation and learning initiative that President Eric Barron has been spearheading,” said Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal.

“We are excited to partner with Saxbys and CEO Nick Bayer on an innovative program that has flourished at other institutions in Pennsylvania.”

Currently occupied by the Blue Chip Bistro, the café and restaurant space in the Business Building will remain open through the spring semester. Based on design input from students, it will be transformed into a Saxbys Café during the summer before opening in the fall semester. The company will initially hire up to 100 Penn State students to fill team-lead and barista roles.

Bayer started Saxbys in 2005 and has since opened 28 locations in five states and Washington, D.C. Six of those locations are associated with the Saxbys Experiential Learning Program, which began in 2015 at Drexel University and has since grown to Temple, Millersville and La Salle universities. Saxbys cafes typically feature light café fare including breakfast sandwiches, lunch options and baked goods. Saxbys is working with Smeal to develop a broader, specialized menu for the new location.

“We have long admired Penn State and the Smeal College of Business for their unwavering commitment to providing such a large array of diverse students with the knowledge, skills and perspective that the marketplace demands,” said Bayer.

“I want to personally thank Smeal Alumni Advisory Board Member Timmy Garde for forging the path that ultimately led to us working with such an influential university. Smeal's core values strongly echo the ideas our Experiential Learning Program is built on, and we're thrilled to partner and advance our shared vision.”

Smeal has recently introduced an undergraduate major, online master of professional studies, and online graduate certificate, all in corporate innovation and entrepreneurship. The Saxbys Experiential Learning Café will fit into those efforts.

“The Saxbys partnership complements the many strengths of Smeal’s entrepreneurship programs, while also adding another key component to the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Shawn Clark, director of Smeal’s Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“Smeal’s partnership with Saxbys is an exciting step forward for students interested in entrepreneurship and learning to run a small business. Experiential learning is a potent educational model where the real world of business, on-the-job training, and corporate-led professional development  become the teachers.”

Saxbys plans to conduct weekly on-campus recruiting for all positions throughout April.

Last Updated April 05, 2018