HUMANS OF SOAS: The SU Shop

By Asa Willoughby, BA South Asian Studies

Cover Photo: Shop Staff 17/18: Asa, Natena, Holly, Christel, Nida, Saarah, Gpòbé Image Credit: Ravneet Kaur Matharu


“This is my third year working in the shop and I love it, I cannot think of a better part-time job for a student, it feels like a family. But so often I feel that a lot of students are completely unaware of what we do and sell as part of the SOAS community.”


The SU Shop is an integral part of SOAS, everyone knows it, every alumnus comes back to see it, ex-employees constantly pop in for a chat and it represents so much of who the student body at SOAS is — but perhaps you have never noticed that. This is my third year working in the shop and I love it, I cannot think of a better part-time job for a student, it feels like a family. But so often I feel that a lot of students are completely unaware of what we do and sell as part of the SOAS community.


The shop is run by the Students’ Union not SOAS and is controlled by Khaled Ziada, the SU commercial services manager who also runs an events company promoting Arabic culture, for which we sell tickets in the shop. All the shop staff are students, some undergrad, some doing a masters, some part-time and some doing a PhD. We are all from diverse backgrounds which is always on show through the music we play whilst we work. We love it when a song gets everyone dancing whilst they rush to get a coffee in between a class. (Somali dhaanto gets people moving every time!)


Did you know that we order from around 5 different sandwich companies everyday including vegan, kosher, halal and authentic Lebanese sandwiches and wraps? We also have a delivery of fresh sushi and fruit every morning. We sell a huge variety of gluten free and vegan snacks for both healthy and unhealthy revision breaks and a ridiculously large selection of juices, smoothies, cold coffee and fizzy drinks (vegan included!). How does this represent the SOAS student body? We have something for every walk of life if you look, Fair Trade flapjacks, vegan protein balls, dates and almonds straight from Palestine that provide for Palestinian families.
Is the shop green enough? Perhaps not, but we are always working on it. At the moment we charge 25p extra for anyone using a single use cup, we recycle all coffee grinds, milk bottles and cardboard and we sell SOAS water bottles and keep cups. We are always open to suggestions on how to improve, so come and talk to us!

What we, the staff, often feel is forgotten, is that we are all also students and part of the student body and not robots. We love to have a chat when you come in, we can always empathise with deadline stresses and we would love for the shop to be a community space for all students! Come in, grab a coffee and say hello. Equally the shop provides much needed funds for the SU, it provides jobs for students, funding for student societies and refreshments for events and training sessions.

SU Shop opening hours (subject to change):
Mon – Thurs: 8 – 9Fri: 8 – 8:30 Sat: 9:30 – 6:30Sun: 10:30 – 5:00

Shop Staff 17/18: Asa, Natena, Holly, Christel, Nida, Saarah, Gpòbé
Image Credit: Ravneet Kaur Matharu

Shop Staff 17/18: Helen, Elisa, Molly. Image Credit: Asa Willoughby

Shop Staff 17/18: Caitlin, Theint
Image Credit: Caitlin Shewell-Cooper



Post Author: SOAS Spirit

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