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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vantea: The push to bring bubble tea to Vanderbilt

Senior Joshua Cho and first-year Lyndon Shi created Vantea in an attempt to make boba tea more accessible to students
Vantea+is+a+social+media-backed+initiative+to+open+a+student-run+boba+shop+in+a+campus+dining+hall.+Screenshot+from+%40vantea.vandy+%28Hustler+Staff%2FMarissa+Tessier%29+
Vantea is a social media-backed initiative to open a student-run boba shop in a campus dining hall. Screenshot from @vantea.vandy (Hustler Staff/Marissa Tessier)

Bubble tea, a sweet Taiwanese beverage, is a trendy staple that serves as either a reminder of home or a facet of gastro-cultural opportunity for many Vandy students. With that being said, most boba shops anywhere near the Vanderbilt campus require at least a car ride to reach.

Senior Joshua Cho and first-year Lyndon Shi aim to address this deficit by garnering support to open a student-run boba shop in a campus dining hall through their latest social media-spurred initiative: Vantea.  

As a first-year student, Shi was frustrated by the generic drink options available in the dining halls and wanted a more diverse selection.

“There’s a high demand for eastern cuisine that Vanderbilt has not been able to match up to. [Vantea] is a great opportunity to show different types of products and diversity within food choices,” Shi said.

In the past, boba tea was available on the Vanderbilt campus and could be purchased at the now-closed Bamboo Bistro, which was replaced by Suzie’s Coffee Shop. Since then, bubble tea has been difficult for students to obtain and financially exclusive, as many students have splurged to order it through delivery services off the Commodore card. 

After launching the @vantea.vandy Instagram page, the duo released a survey asking students if they were interested in having bubble tea on campus. Per Cho, the survey has had over 650 responses with 98 percent of responders showing interest, confirming Cho and Shi’s belief in the demand for the beverage. 

As of Jan. 31, the Vantea interest form received 657 responses with 98% positive reactions from Vandy students. Screenshot from @vantea.vandy (Hustler Staff/Eva Pace)

In addition to bringing boba tea to students, Cho and Shi wish to increase student entrepreneurship on the Vanderbilt campus and to serve as an inspiration for other students to pursue their own entrepreneurial efforts.

“Start up culture at Vanderbilt compared to other schools is pretty weak, and we think that having Vantea approved and publicly student-run would be great for Vanderbilt,” Cho said. “I feel like students would feel more supported by the university if this were approved.

Cho and Shi have been working alongside the Wond’ry to increase student entrepreneurship on campus and have gotten support from faculty members.

“If Vantea were to happen, it would be a symbol that Vanderbilt really cares about its students, and that our ideas are something worth investing in,” Shi said.

The team behind the movement knows that bubble tea is more than just a drink: it’s culturally important. By making it accessible to Commodores, Cho and Shi wish to spark cultural dialogue among students. 

“I have a lot of friends who have never even heard of bubble tea because they’ve never seen it. But, if it was on campus, it would start a lot of conversations about [Asian culture],” Cho said.

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About the Contributor
Marissa Tessier, Former Staff Writer
Marissa Tessier ('24) is majoring in secondary education and English. When not writing, she can be found at a café reading the latest YA novel. She can be reached at [email protected].
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Comments (4)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
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A
Anon
3 years ago

Please let this go through, ran by students of course 🙂

M
Miriam
3 years ago

As a recent Pacific Northwest transplant… bubble tea is a great drink to have around. Might be a great idea to add a signature snack too.

J
jinger
3 years ago

facts

G
graduating soon but still
3 years ago

yesssss boba @ vandy please