More Than Merchandise: How The Scripps Store Builds Community, One Design at a Time

By Mirabella Miller ’24

The Motley Coffeehouse is not the only student-run business in Seal Court, the bustling hub of Scripps’ campus. Right across the courtyard is the Scripps Store, whose student managers and cashiers work diligently to bring unique and creative merchandise options to the Scripps community. The store employs almost 20 work-study students who handle every aspect of the store’s operations, from designing, sourcing, and ordering merchandise to handling finances to curating the store’s social media presence and more.

Running the store is a team effort between managers and cashiers, says Paola Ojeda ’25, co-head manager for the 2023–2024 academic year. She and co-head manager Syd Godwin ’26 oversee all the operations and make sure everything is running smoothly, but they couldn’t do it alone.

“With our team of brilliant managers, we’ve been able to keep going forward,” says Ojeda. “All of our managers are important to us, and we cannot emphasize enough how grateful we are for their work. We also cannot understate how important the cashiers are to the store and its daily operations. From opening to closing, their efforts keep the store going.”

Godwin echoes this sentiment, highlighting the collaboration integral to the store’s mission. “So many of these responsibilities are done as joint efforts between both managers and staff, so it wouldn’t be possible without the whole team,” they say.

The offerings of the Scripps Store span a wide range of colors and styles. Current students, prospective students, and all community members can browse tank tops, t-shirts, crewnecks, water bottles, stickers, postcards, and more.

“At the Scripps Store we really strive to create a welcoming space for students to express themselves,” says Godwin. “We aim to create unique merch that appeals to Scrippsies of all styles.”

Much of this variety is due to Isabella Ramirez’s ’26 hard work as sales manager this year.

“As the sales manager, designing merchandise and ordering it has primarily been my responsibility,” she says.  “I’ve really enjoyed involving our current team in the process of imagining, refining, and providing all of the new merchandise.”

The store’s most recent merchandise drop, a series of pastel crewnecks with a classic Scripps logo, was curated by Ramirez because of the feedback she received from community members on what they wanted to see in terms of merchandise. Ramirez asked about colors, cuts, logos, and other elements of merchandise in order to design and source the crewnecks.

“It has been amazing to see the reception that many of the recent items have seen. I’d like to think the community’s positive reaction is because many of our community members have been involved in bringing the merchandise to life through engagement and feedback,” she says.

Like many campus organizations that closed during the pandemic, it took a while for the Scripps Store to reopen when students returned to campus. The pandemic combined with natural turnover from former managers graduating meant a dedicated team of students had to step up in order to reintegrate the store’s presence into the Scripps community.

“My amazing predecessors Richa Shah ’23 and HuxleyAnn Huefner ’23 took on the tall task of reopening the store and starting from scratch,” says Ojeda. “The job that we do today would not be possible without the initial management and cashier team.”

“Although it’s been difficult at times, it is also extremely rewarding to see the store continue to rebuild and grow,” says Godwin.

Current managers have found their involvement in the store to be incredibly rewarding. The store has provided them with important management and leadership experience and familiarized them with everything that goes into to running a business. But it’s also been a unique opportunity to connect with many different areas of the Scripps community, from current students to faculty to prospective students to alums to families.

“Honestly, working for the Scripps Store has been a more integral part of my Scripps experience than I ever would’ve guessed,” says Godwin. “The store has been not only a place to develop my customer service and managing skills, but also somewhere to find community, be creative, and have fun.”

Ramirez agrees. “Working at the Scripps Store has been a wonderful opportunity to further engage with the Scripps community while developing practical job skills,” she says. “It’s amazing to see all of the different individuals that Scripps College welcomes to our community and who decides to pop into our small store in Seal Court.”