By Catherine Gonzalez
On Jan. 29, Arooga's closed in Campus Town. Two weeks following the closure, on Feb. 12, sophomore public health major Gio Adu-Gyamfi reached out to friends on his Instagram story curious to know what they would like in place of Arooga’s.
“One of the suggestions that caught my mind was a pharmacy like a CVS or Walgreens,” Adu-Gyamfi said. “I’ve heard about some people having to spend countless amounts of money to get Ubers there and back from off-campus pharmacies just to get medicine and take care of themselves, and I feel like having a CVS or Walgreens that they could walk to would help because they wouldn’t have to spend all that money.”
After seeing Adu-Gyamfi’s Instagram story, junior journalism and professional writing major Asaka Park, who made the initial suggestion about having a pharmacy in Campus Town, wished to gauge interest from students who follow her Instagram account as well.
Park told The Signal that “probably a minute after Gio posted, I made a poll on Instagram stories basically asking ‘if there was CVS or a Walgreens in Campus Town, would you guys be cool with that?’ It wasn’t even a serious thing; I was just wondering if everyone thought the same thing I did, but it turns out that thirty-nine out of forty people voted ‘yes.’”
Upon learning that so many students were in favor of this idea, Park and Adu-Gyamfi discussed how to move forward.
“That same day, Asaka created a group chat on GroupMe to have other students discuss it, and then I made a change.org petition explaining the whole situation. So far, I’ve got 79 signatures,” Adu-Gyamfi said.
On Feb. 16, Adu-Gyamfi sent both the petition and his proposal over to President Foster via email, who prompted him to speak with a Campus Town representative.
“President Foster said that because Campus Town is privately-owned, students could talk to the representative that’s in charge of Campus Town to make that happen, so it’s less about the school and more about the people in charge of Campus Town,” Park said.
After speaking with more students, Park has found benefits along with potential down-sides to having a pharmacy take Arooga's place.
“If we get a pharmacy in Campus Town, I’m trying to think of ways that we could streamline and prioritize campus students,” Park said. “I don’t know if there’s a way to actually enforce that, but I do want to try to figure something out because that would not only allow speed-service for students on-campus, but it would also prevent Ewing and Trenton inhabitants from leaving the pharmacies that students currently use in mess. I really feel like students should have better access to healthcare, but I don’t want to do anything that’ll harm the small businesses out there. I’m really grateful for the people who brought this up.”
On Feb 21., Adu-Gyamfi and Park met with a Campus Town representative to plead their case, addressing Park’s concerns and hoping to advance their plan.
“Unfortunately, a bigger pharmacy is not in their plans,” Adu-Gyamfi said. “This traces back to years before, when Campus Town first opened. They’ve tried to reach out to other companies but garnered no interest.”
The two students will meet with the representative again on Feb. 24 to discuss more.
At the moment, it is still unclear what business will replace Arooga’s.