Support Student-Run Business on Campus at UMass Amherst

admin, 28 August 2013, Comments Off on Support Student-Run Business on Campus at UMass Amherst
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UMACEC supports student-run businesses on campus, and would like students, faculty, staff, and community members to help us encourage the Chancellor and Administration to promote the development of more student cooperatives. Please read the letter below and sign our Change.org petition to show your support of student-run business!

People’s Market (from BusinessWeek)

To: UMass Amherst Community, Students, Faculty, Staff

We ask your support in encouraging Chancellor Subbaswamy and the administration at UMass-Amherst to actively promote the expansion of student-run businesses on campus.

Everyone on campus benefits from the high quality services provided by student-run businesses such as Earthfoods, People’s Market, Campus Design and Copy, Greeno’s Subs, Bike Coop, Sylvan Snack Bar, and Sweets and More. In addition, these businesses provide invaluable training for students who take on responsibilities for democratic self-management, learn business and fiscal literacy and serve as an incubator for the expansion of worker co-operative businesses in the local community.

The student-run businesses are jewels in the crown of our UMass-Amherst campus, enhancing its image as a center of social and economic innovation. They are complemented by new and expanding curricula on worker ownership, sustainable agriculture, and local food production. Our Certificate program in the Economics of Cooperative Enterprises (www.umasscec.org) offers students the opportunity to combine research and on-the-job experience in research internships that are sponsored by the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-operatives (VAWC, www.valleyworker.org.) and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA, www.nfca.coop) VAWC currently supports eleven member worker co-ops in western Massachusetts and southern Vermont with 70+ worker members earning $7.4 million in annual revenue and $35,000 in charitable donations to our community. NFCA has 25+ member food co-ops in western New England with 80,000 members, 1,450 employees and $200 million in annual revenue.

Sadly, however, the number of student-run businesses has not expanded for some time, despite considerable opportunities offered by the renovation of the student union, the establishment of a library coffee shop, and the new Commonwealth College residential area.

With these reasons, we urge you to encourage the Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to increase support of Student Run Businesses on campus. Student initiative is not lacking—the Center for Student Business has received several proposals for new enterprises. What seems to be lacking is both space for such enterprises to set up shop and—more fundamentally—a commitment to actively promote new student initiatives, perhaps because they do not generate as much direct revenue for the university as more conventional for-profit businesses.

Please help us make the case that student-run businesses offer important direct and indirect benefits for the campus community, by signing our petition asking Chancellor Subbaswamy and the Administration to support their expansion. Click here to view our Change.org petition in support of student cooperatives.

Sincerely,

The UMass Amherst Cooperative Enterprise Collaborative

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