George Mason University

News at Mason

‘Beep Boop Beep’ Mason student partners with Starship robots

April 30, 2019   /   by Mary Lee Clark

Sofya Vetrova created the "Robot Exclusive," a newsletter packed with information about events, Mason Dining news and coupons that comes with Starship delivery orders. Photo by Lathan Goumas.

Sofya Vetrova saw a marketing opportunity when the Starship delivery robots came to campus.

Vetrova, a student worker for Mason Dining, was tasked with increasing the sales traffic to the convenience stores on campus. She promoted Freshens with Mason Dining's new dietician, Veronica Hayes, by handing out smoothies and healthy cookies. But she also found a way to use the Starship robots to take her marketing pitch further. 

She created the "Robot Exclusive," a newsletter packed with information about events, Mason Dining news and coupons that comes with delivery orders. Starship delivery orders were most recently packed with the second edition of the newsletter, a promotion that ended April 25. 

“For the first newsletter, which was distributed for three days, 15 coupons were physically cut out and returned before the expiration date. So, 15 coupons in five days, which is actually quite tremendous,” said Bridget Bukovich, the marketing director for Mason Dining. 


Originally from Belgorod, Russia, Vetrova started off as an INTO Mason student and will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree in tourism and events management this May. Outside of classes, she has spent the past three years working with Sodexo and Mason Dining to promote meal plans and dining options on campus.

During her sophomore year, Vetrova pursued a job at Sodexo-Mason Dining and became a Mason Dining Ambassador—student workers who promote meal plans and assist with the Mason Dining experience. But Vetrova didn't want to stop there. She set goals for herself, wanting to become a market coordinator with Sodexo.

"I felt like I wanted to be in charge,” said Vetrova. “I wanted to be the one who planned all of the cool programs on campus.” 

She was later promoted and eventually also worked with Sodexo as a marketing intern. Now she creates marketing initiatives like the "Robot Exclusive" and the "Skip the Straw" campaign.

Bukovich said Vetrova has experience with almost every department at Mason Dining and has grown her skills in all aspects of the business.

“Her work with promoting dining programs through the Starship robots is just one example of the positive impact she has made here over the years,” said Bukovich. “She truly has a bright future ahead of her.” 

Vetrova works hard toward that future. She said she has never skipped a class, and she received the Outstanding Student in Tourism and Events Management award in 2019.