At the end of the Spring 2019 semester, as finals loomed, Liz Noble (sophomore) proposed an idea to her teammates on the Womxn’s Rugby Team. Noble, a Green Bean Coffee Lounge (GB) barista, suggested they apply for the GB’s To Veitch Their Own Drink of the Month Partnership.
When the GB opened in 2009, there were three signature, or scholarship, drinks on the menu: the Skotcheim (today known as the Skotchaim), the Green Dynamite and the Son of a Veitch. According to GB Sales Analysis Manager Jacob Farner (senior), a portion of the funds from each of the drinks — 75 cents from each small size and $1 from each large — goes toward scholarships and financial aid.
Son of a Veitch was originally a spicy hot chocolate honoring incoming President Jonathan Veitch in 2009. The recipe for the drink included Ghirardelli chocolate and steamed milk topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, paprika, chile ancho and cayenne pepper.
Director of Financial Aid Gina Becerril remembers Veitch’s response to the drink name.
“I love that Jonathan was a team player in terms of he found it funny, too, and was totally for it,” Becerril said.
Farner said there are a few faculty who still have the original lime green mugs that say “Son of a Veitch.”
In 2015, the drink became a seasonal drink of the month and clubs could apply to create a personalized drink and receive funding from the drink’s sales. The GB changed the name of the drink to “To Veitch Their Own” in order to reflect the recipe and funding change. Previously, all three scholarship drinks raised money for financial aid. One of the first recipients of the drink of the month partnership was Diversity and Equity Board (DEB) in October 2015 with the pumpkin spice latte.
According to Farner, the To Veitch Their Own application starts with a Google form where clubs write a few paragraphs about who they are, what specific projects they are hoping to fund and what their goals are to engage with the Occidental community. Then the club interviews with GB managers to talk in-depth about the club’s proposed project.
“We check that projects are sustainable and inclusive,” Farner said. “We try to select projects that are giving back to the community as much as possible.”
Emily Zepeda (sophomore) said she volunteered to fill out Womxn’s Rugby’s application for the funding. She collaborated with co-president Hannah Fishbein* ’19, who had been the club’s treasurer for the 2017–2018 school year and was familiar with their financial records, to write a proposal for Womxn’s Rugby to receive funding. Womxn’s Rugby Communications Director Hope Fowler (senior) said the money would ensure that anyone who wants to join the team is able to.
“This money will support players who want to join but who might be aware of money or money is a factor that could limit their participation. That’s not really something we’re okay with,” Fowler said.
Zepeda said Fishbein attended the interview and presented the club’s projects and their drink ideas to the GB managers. Farner said the GB tries to give clubs as much freedom as possible in creating their drink and will even bring in new ingredients if clubs request them. According to Farner, the GB bought high-quality matcha powder for the matcha latte, which started out as a drink of the month for December 2017 to January 2018 supporting Biology Club. The drink is now a staple on the menu. Most drinks are a variation of something already on the GB menu. For example, FEAST’s April 2017 drink of the month was a variation on lemonade — a lavender lemonade.
Womxn’s Rugby’s drink of the month for October is a honey lavender latte called the “Rug-bee.” Zepeda said she came up with the pun for the drink name, but Noble, with help from the rest of the team, created the recipe.
“We joked around on the team that ‘Ooh, it has to be the honey lavender latte because it’s gay,'” Zepeda said.
Lavender has long been a symbol of the LGBTQIAP+ community. In the 20th century, according to Fowler, women used to give each other lavender or violets as a romantic gesture. Fowler said many players on the team identify as LGBTQIAP+.
According to Fowler, the application process helped the club solidify its identity and what it stood for.
“I think that it really forced us to assess and look at ourselves differently, right. Like not everyone knew on the team that we had 900 followers on Instagram, or we didn’t have a mission statement before. They asked to come up with things to describe ourselves and advocate for ourselves that we didn’t have before,” Fowler said.
Applications for the To Veitch Their Own partnership will be available online the week of Sept. 25, according to Farner. He encourages all eligible clubs to apply because the more clubs apply, the better it is for the GB. Farner said he enjoys hearing what clubs are up to.
September 2019 — Iced Mango Green Tea — Women of Economics (WOE)
WOE CEO Cat Teasdale (senior) said WOE wanted their drink of the month to have a summer feel to it.
“It’s a little bit different, a little bit creative and it’s a very refreshing kind of drink. Obviously, September is the end of the summer and beginning of fall. It’s still pretty hot in Southern California. It’s something that’ll help cool people down,” Teasdale said.
Farner said drinks that match with their month and season tend to sell more, such as Oxy Open Source’s spiced apple cider from November 2018. Clubs receive their funds at the beginning of the next fiscal year in July. While the club may not receive their funds until next school year, Teasdale said the drink helps bring awareness to WOE, which was formed Spring 2019, and garner support on campus.
“You’re fundraising through the Green Bean, but you’re also supporting another student. That’s what college is actually about,” Teasdale said. “We’re not here to just sit in the classroom all day, go do our homework, hang out with people. We’re here to get involved and promote on-campus stuff and promote people actually learning and finding new environments. Student organizations are one of the best ways to do that.”
Some of the events WOE has planned for the school year include partnering with the Economic Students Association (ESA) to host an Internship/Research panel where juniors and seniors will discuss their summer internship opportunities. Next semester, Teasdale said WOE is planning on flying in a speaker from Washington, D.C. who works at the World Bank.
WOE meets Wednesday nights 8–9 p.m. in the Fowler Econ Faculty Lounge.
March 2019 — “Mudslide,” Blended mocha with chocolate chips — Geology Club
According to Geology Club President Matt Aleksey (junior), the pun came before the drink recipe. On a Google Doc, the club tossed around various drink ideas — which Aleksey said included a shamrock shake with matcha powder and a rocky road drink with Oreos — before landing on a blended mocha they named “Mudslide.”
“[A mudslide] is something that’s related to geology but it’s still tangible to people that you’re not going so deep people don’t know what you’re talking about,” Aleksey said. “It was all about finding a geo pun. One of the big things about geology is that geologists love puns related to geology.”
Aleksey said that the funds the club earned will go toward planning events to raise earthquake safety awareness. One of their ideas is to create rudimentary earthquake safety kits with items like flashlights, band-aids and a small knife to pass around to students. Another idea is to sponsor a practice earthquake test on campus where they would sound the alarms.
Aleksey, a GB barista, said he did not see many people order the Mudslide, and he speculates that it was because the drink was too complicated. The drink raised $62 for Geology Club. Farner said the best-selling drinks tend to be simple and things people already order, like a green tea lemonade which was the April 2019 drink of the month for African Students Association (AFSA).
December 2018/January 2019 — Peppermint Mocha — Alpha Chi Sigma (AXS)
When AXS, Occidental’s gender-inclusive chemistry fraternity, found out they would have the December drink of the month, Master Alchemist, or AXS President, Crystal Liang (senior) said the club made sure their drink would be caffeinated to help students survive finals. AXS Social Chair Ayanna Lynch (senior), a GB barista, said the drink was successful because it was a classic flavor combination (peppermint and chocolate) and matched the winter season. To promote the drink, she would recommend it to customers during her shifts at the GB.
AXS’s peppermint mocha raised $200.75. Most of the money AXS raised went toward purchasing goggles in bulk to sell at a discount price to Introductory Chemistry students, and model kits for Organic Chemistry students. Last year, Liang said they started buying back secondhand goggles and model kits and selling them at a further reduced price. The funds also went towards their outreach programs and philanthropy. One of Lynch and Liang’s favorite programs is helping a local Boy Scout Troop earn their chemistry merit badges.
“We show them what it’s like to be a chemist at Oxy,” Liang said.
For Lynch, AXS’s drink of the month gave them more publicity on campus. Lynch said they had one of their largest groups of AXS applicants last semester. She recommends other clubs apply for the funding, especially because people are more willing to spend their meal plan than to donate directly to the club.
“People feel good about buying the drinks when they know it’s going towards a cause. At least when you’re buying your peppermint mocha, you know it’s for a reason,” Lynch said.
October 2018 — Rose Lemonade — Women and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE)
Ahladini Veerina (senior), who is part of WYSE’s Director Team, said WYSE had one requirement when creating their drink of the month, a rose lemonade.
“Everything WYSE is very pink. Basically, we wanted a drink that was pink,” Veerina said.
Because WYSE is a national organization, Veerina said WYSE wanted to apply for funding to help put the Occidental chapter at the same level as chapters at bigger schools that receive more funding. According to Veerina, WYSE has had to fundraise for all of its money.
Veerina said the club has not spent their funds yet. WYSE Curriculum Director Nina Dutta (senior) said they have two projects planned — WYSE T-shirts and stickers for them and the middle school girls they mentor. According to Veerina, the club has never had WYSE T-shirts, but they have wanted them for a while. She said she wants to give the girls they mentor a T-shirt to remember WYSE. Sales of the rose lemonade brought in $176.25.
Dutta said WYSE mainly advertised their drink via word of mouth, which helped them have a larger presence on campus and increase awareness about the club. Although WYSE applications have closed for the fall, WYSE Week is in the works for Spring 2020.
Skotchaim and Green Dynamite
The GB’s other two scholarship drinks are the Skotchaim and the Green Dynamite. The Skotchaim is named after Interim President Robert Skotheim (2008–2009). The drink used to be a hazelnut-butterscotch-toffee-nut latte but the GB changed it to a chai latte with a shot of espresso in 2015. The original name Skotcheim was also changed to Skotchaim as a pun on both “chai” and “Skotheim.” According to Director of Donor Relations Debbie Afar ’10, a portion of the funds from the Skotchaim go toward a pool of scholarship money for first-generation students. Last fiscal year, according to Farner, sales from the Skotchaim raised $3667.50 for scholarships.
Becerril was familiar with Skotheim’s positive perception on campus despite his brief tenure at Occidental.
“Even though he was only interim, he was a good presence on the college,” Becerril said. “He was just kind of very mellow and kind and a gentleman.”
The Green Dynamite is named after the Green Family because the GB space was formerly the Green Family Dining Room. When the GB opened, the Green Dynamite, then called the “GC-4,” was a blackberry-raspberry mocha. Today, it is a blended matcha drink that is green to match its name. According to Afar, funds from the Green Dynamite go toward a pooled scholarship that supports need-based financial aid. The drink raised $833.50 for scholarships during the last fiscal year.
Together, according to Farner, sales during the last fiscal year from the Green Dynamite and the Skotcheim raised $4501 toward scholarships.
Not many people are aware of the scholarship drinks. Although he works at the GB, Aleksey said he was unaware that the Green Dynamite and Skotchaim raise money for financial aid. Lynch said she remembers learning about the scholarships during barista training. On the menu, the GB lists the Skotchaim and Green Dynamite under “Specialty Drinks,” but they do not label them as Scholarship Drinks. Farner said he did not know why the GB does not advertise the scholarships. Becerril speculated that if more people were aware of the scholarship drinks, they would buy them, especially among staff, administration and faculty. While $4501 may not seem like a lot compared to the cost of tuition, for Becerril, every bit of fundraising is worthwhile.
“As somebody who reviews students’ information, when students’ financial aid changes by $20 or $30, if it’s coming from scholarship, of course, you’re going to be much more grateful than if it’s coming out of your pocket and you’re having to come out with $20, $30. I think any and all amounts count,” Becerril said.
For Fowler, the GB scholarship drinks bring the Occidental community together.
“What’s cool about this drink is that when you buy it, you can see the people walking around that it’s helping. That’s a really cool thing,” Fowler said. “It’s not always that you get to donate and still get something in return and still help the people who live in your community. So thank you to the Green Bean.”
*Fishbein is a former Culture Editor at The Occidental