Temple students pay only 50 cents for a Dr. Pepper or a bag of Doritos at student club stores operated by the National Society of Black Engineers and the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers.
“We want people to feel that they’re getting their money’s worth, rather than to get ripped off from a vending machine,” said Jenner Cole, a senior civil engineering major and public relations chair of NSBE’s Temple chapter.
Both organizations sell products for half the price that a vending machine charges by getting their products from BJ’s Wholesale Club. NSBE has sold cans of Red Bull at $1.50, and IEEE has offered free coffee on Fridays.
“It doesn’t cost us anything, since coffee isn’t expensive,” said Michael Korostelev, a senior electrical engineering major and president of the IEEE Temple chapter. “It was a great idea that attracted a lot more customers.”
The NSBE store has operated out of its office on the second floor of the Engineering and Architecture Building for more than 20 years. Located on the seventh floor of the same building, Temple’s IEEE chapter followed suit, jumping on the idea in 2007.
“I’m here from 7 in the morning to 7 at night,” Korostelev said. “We want people to find out about our store and our organization.”
Profits from both stores pay for travel expenses to regional conferences, which could be held anywhere from Pennsylvania to South Carolina.
“The IEEE members that started this didn’t have any money,” sophomore electrical engineering major Joseph Gro said. “Last year, we used the store’s profits to reimburse our members for our NASA trip.”
The two groups use cash left over to buy drinks and pizza for members at certain meetings.
Engineering professor Dennis Silage said he occasionally stops by the IEEE store to buy food and snacks.
“I feel like I’m helping the organization,” Silage said, “and my office is right down the hall.”
Ian Romano can be reached at email@example.com.