Many Asian students on campus, both international students and Asian Americans, have a special place in their hearts for the Asian snacks they grew up with. Oreos and Capri Suns are great, but mochis and boba are especially delicious. However, Asian snacks are not as accessible around campus. Knowing this problem all too well, Christine Wu ’22 started Phantom Tea as a class project.
Phantom Tea is inspired from the lack of accessibility that predominantly white institutions have when accessing Asian snacks or drinks. Although you can get your favorite American snack in the school vending machines or your closest CVS, it is not easy to get a hold of Asian snacks. Usually, students will ask their families to ship their favorite snacks from home, wait to get it on Amazon or drive ten minutes to the closest Asian market. Sure, driving ten minutes away does not sound too bad, but a lot of students don’t have cars.
With Phantom Tea, it won’t be necessary to drive to your local Asian market – this Asian snack store will drive itself to you! The snack truck would park in areas on the campus for students to catch throughout the day – allowing students to get a quick grab of their favorite snacks, especially boba.
After entering a LaunchPad pitch competition that Wu’s professor encouraged her to take part in, Wu connected to the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University Libraries, located in the Bird Library and has continued to refine her idea.
When Wu isn’t busy studying for both her Psychology major at the College of Arts and Science and her Economics major at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, or running Phantom Tea, she loves catching up Netflix shows with her friends. Wu and her friends also started a side business one summer to make designs on Nike Air Forces.
Although Phantom Tea is a great idea, the actual business is on hiatus until Wu finishes navigating through her post graduate plans to work in the tech industry. Phantom Tea was a great project and Wu gained a lot of experiences working on it. Developing as many skills as one can and taking advantages of resources on campus like Wu is a very smart thing to do as student
Story by LaunchPad Global Fellow Natalie Lui ‘22; photo supplied