When Clover High School in Clover, S.C., was left with an unused kitchen due to an expansion, Superintendent Dr. Marc Sosne decided to transform the area into a place where students could grab a bite to eat, as well as foster their independence and collaborate with one another. Thus was born the Clover Student Union, which opened at the start of the school year and includes indoor and outdoor seating for up to 100 students. Here’s an inside look.
Preparing for the future
While the union provides students with a place to enjoy a meal other than the cafeteria, it’s also intended to help them grow. “We want them to learn how to use their independent time wisely,” Sosne says. The union is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day of the week, and gives students a place to work and hang out during their free time before, during and after school.
To encourage teamwork, furniture in the union is geared toward collaboration and productivity. “There [are] high-top tables where they can recharge their iPads while they’re working on projects, and sofas and little seating areas where they can work in small groups,” Sosne says. Teachers are also able to rent portions of the union to host classes.
Students have a say
Food served at the union is prepped in the previously unused kitchen, separate from the school’s cafeteria. “It’s all about options,” says chef Brittani Vanderschaegen, noting that the union sells pastries, fresh salads, sandwiches, individual pizzas, specialty flatbreads and sushi, as well coffee and several caffeine-free beverages.
“The students definitely have input in what’s on the menu, as they’re our primary customer and we want them to be as excited as we are about coming to the new student union,” she says. “We’ll continue to involve students in recipe development through taste tests and feedback—all critical to our success.”
Staff reap benefits, too
Not solely for students, the Clover Student Union also offers faculty and staff the ability to grab a bite to eat between classes and meetings. “They like being able to have a coffee shop-type atmosphere where they can get a muffin and a coffee in the middle of day and not have to worry about leaving campus,” Sosne says. “It’s created a whole new dynamic at the school.”