As finals approach and students start to hunker down in front of glowing computer screens, coffee sales are going up on campus.
“Coffee sales go up about 40 to 50 percent during exam week,” said Van Sullivan, the assistant retail dining manager at the University of Massachusetts.
The hot spot for coffee sales at the University is the library’s newly renovated Procrastination Station, where sales went up dramatically over the past week, according to Sullivan.
“Monday of this week, there were more than 2,200 (customers) at the library, that’s more than Blue Wall … I’d like to say that we could do 2,500 to 3,000 a day next week,” Sullivan said, who has hired seasonal staff to meet the demand.
The old café averaged roughly 800 to 1,000 customers, according to Sullivan. He noted that the renovations boosted that number to 1,500. Coffee is available at other locations on campus such as the Blue Wall and at the dining commons.
The stress of finals weeks can bring even non-coffee drinkers to the dark side in an effort to stay awake just a little longer.
Emma Lagreze, a communications and marketing major, said that she usually doesn’t drink coffee, but during finals week she makes an exception.
“Definitely during finals,” she said. “Probably two cups a day, but normally I don’t drink any.”
Biology major Kamille Sobolewski has a similar relationship with coffee.
“I don’t usually (drink coffee),” Soboleweski said. “I just (it) do because it helps me focus.”
According to a study done by the Behavioral Biology Research Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2003, when used in moderation coffee can produce the effects desired by students like Sobolewski and Lagreze. The study showed that caffeinated beverages can make the drinker experience “increased well-being, happiness, energetic arousal, alertness and sociability.”
However, when used excessively, even in the short-term, the study showed that caffeinated beverages can produce negative effects such as “anxiety, nervousness, jitteriness and upset stomach.”
In addition, the study showed that if an individual forms a dependence, caffeine consumption can induce anxiety and panic attacks, disrupt sleep cycles and cause various withdrawal systems including headaches, fatigue, drowsiness, decreased motivation, irritability and depression.
The increase in sales appears to be an on-campus phenomenon. Christiana McDougal, an employee at Amherst Coffee, said that she did not see in an increase in the number of people frequenting the shop during finals.
“I think it’s more that there’s not people coming in and out, but staying for longer periods of time,” McDougal said.
Amherst Coffee doesn’t hire more people or do anything to prepare for the finals induced caffeine craze, but they do notice a difference in their customers.
There “is more of an awareness,” McDougal said. “You can sense the tension a lot.”