Seven student-run businesses provide entrepreneurship experience and provide the community with a range of services – Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The University of Massachusetts has the largest number of student-run co-ops in the United States. These seven businesses run entirely by students bring entrepreneurial experience to the staff while providing the campus with food, printing and bikes.

All business students employ “co-managers”; Any campus business does not have a hierarchical structure. Instead, co-managers are given the opportunity to collaborate with each other on everything from hiring and training to social media and outreach.

bike co-op

Composed of seven students, the UMass Bike Co-op serves as a one-stop shop for all bike-related activities on campus. The co-op can repair bikes, but also sells used bikes and accessories. “There are very few things we can’t do,” said Leonard Bon, one of the bike co-op’s co-managers.

Bon joined Bike Coop after taking an interest in bikes during the pandemic. A sophomore studying art history and architecture, he joined without knowledge of bike parts or service, but trained to become a full-fledged bike mechanic.

“UMass is such a bikeable campus,” Bonn said. “You can bike to Northampton, you can bike to any class in under two minutes.” Bonn highlighted that biking is not only great for your physical health, but your mental health as well. “I wish every student had a bike.”

At the beginning of the semester, the Co-op was open every day from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. Currently, they are open 2 days a week from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM, but students can set up an appointment outside open hours via email or Instagram DM. Bon said, “Since we are run by students, we don’t run this business to make money.” “We are the cheapest bike shop in the area.”

Bon stressed that the bike co-op is a welcoming place. “we do not want [bringing your bike in] being stressful or intimidating. Instead, Bon wants the bike co-op to be a place where everyone from customers to employees can learn more about bikes.

If you have a problem with your bike on campus, Bon puts it simply: “Just bring it in!”

Campus Design & Copy

Established in 1990, Campus Design & Copy provides printing, flyering and design services to the campus community. Located in the Student Union, Campus Design & Copy offers student employees the opportunity to run their own business.

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Eric Capri has been working in campus design and copy since his freshman year. They found that working in a student business broke down the barrier of only new people knowing new people. Now a senior studying computer science, Capri has enjoyed the firsthand experience that goes into running a business. According to their website, campus design and copy at UMass is “managed by a team of full-time graduate students”. Each co-manager bears “equal responsibility” in the business.

Despite struggling after campus closures due to COVID-19, the business still serves registered student organizations (RSOs) and academic departments. Consisting of approximately 10-14 students each semester, Campus Design & Copy is currently open Monday through Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., according to Capri. For more information, including recruitment and service requests, visit their website.

people’s market

The People’s Market, a student-run coop, is an opportunity for students to eat outside of the standard food options. Their mission consists of four main tenants: “To provide the university community with a place to purchase natural and fresh foods… To provide the university community with alternative eating places… To foster cooperative and collective movements.” To give [and] Educating and informing the community about nutrition, political and social issues in the food industry.


Located in the heart of the Student Union, Earthfoods offers an alternative to campus dining. Earthfoods offers locally sourced vegetarian and vegan food on campus. A student-run cooperative, Earthfoods also allows student co-managers to gain skills in self-accountability, communication and sustainability.

Yoji Kim, a co-manager of Earthfoods, said, “I think especially at a university where students are the main focus, I think it’s really important to have places that are created and curated by students ” Kim, a senior studying linguistics and Spanish, has been working at Earthfoods for four years.

She’s found that being part of a student-run coop means you’re pulling your own weight, which means that each co-manager shares equal responsibility at Earthfoods. This collective mindset, however, “helps students learn how to ask for help and how to work in non-hierarchical settings with peers.”

Earthfoods is open Monday through Thursday. Working at Earthfoods is flexible; Co-operation ensures that the co-managers give priority to academics. Two co-managers start cooking at 7:00 a.m. and open at 11:00 a.m. From there, students run the register, serve food, and help with restocking. Earthfoods closes around 4:00 PM

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Kim explained that working at Earthfoods has given her the opportunity to acknowledge the harsh nature of food insecurity. “As we see more research on the sustainability of specific diets and particular issues in the meat industry, this is something we are really interested in being a part of, not just saying, but doing.”

Greeno Sub Shop

The Greeno’s Sub Shop is a student-run cooperative serving paninis and milkshakes to the central residential area. For Elena Greco, a student co-manager, working at Greco’s Sub Shop helped her reduce work-related anxiety.

Greco said, “When I go to work, I am not afraid of being seen by a manager or a boss, but I feel like an equal person with my co-managers.” She explained that there are food favorites such as “Gutbusters” and provide students with the opportunity to have customizable meals on campus. He also highlighted milkshakes as a personal favorite.

The Greeno Sub Shop opens each semester depending on how many graduate. Greco highlights Greeno’s hiring process, which includes two weeks of training where “a mix of old employees and new employees to show the new hires the ropes” and a new hire night – this year they’re looking to celebrate. Went to an arcade.

Greco finds that Greeno’s being a student-run cooperative allows him to feel “in control” at work. Greco said, “Without the co-operation Greeno would not have its charm because the environment leads to more open expression and connection between workers.” “It also leads to faster progress/changes in its inner workings as there is no chain for you to work through.”

sweets and more

Sweets & More, located inside Field Hall in Orchard Hill, serves “shakes, baked goods and grilled items like quesadillas and pizza bagels,” says Joan Arulraj, a co-manager at Sweets & More who studies marine conservation and education explained. “Each co-manager has their own shake, which makes our menu unique.”

Arulraj said that every student employee is involved in every aspect of the business, “from bookkeeping to advertising and everything in between.”

“Working at Sweets & More means that communication is key; Businesses need to be on the same page in order to be successful. I have learned to communicate efficiently and in a timely manner. I have also learned how to manage my time,” said Arulraj.

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Arulraj joined Sweets & More as a way to develop her professional skills and to find a community where she felt welcome. “Running a business can be stressful, and I’ve had to learn

How to strike a balance between being a co-manager, a student and a human,” said Arulraj. “At the end of the day, Sweets and More co-managers are always ready to support each other, which is an important part of the business. aspect I found helpful.”

Sweets and More will begin hiring in the next few weeks. “We’ll put a form on our Instagram and on the UMass job board,” Arulraj explained. “Students can fill the form, pending they fulfill the requirements.” Students must be in good academic standing, able to work two shifts per week and can commit to at least three semesters.

Once hired, employees will be trained over a period of two weeks. “Experienced sweeties are responsible for showing new employees the ropes, and once they’re confident the new hire is ready, they’re allowed to take ownership of their own station and begin contributing to the business on their own.” will be given.”

For Arulraj, student-run businesses allow students to “develop professional and personal skills”.

“Sweets & More is also a team effort, which is extremely important in the real world. Any problem a business faces is an ‘all hands on deck’ type situation, which allows you to realize how powerful it is to have more people working on an issue rather than one person.

Sylvan Snack Bar

Sylvan Snack Bar’s website states, “At Sylvan Snack Bar, we are passionate about sharing our love of food with everyone we know.” Located inside the McNamara dorm in Sylvan, the snack bar offers late-night food options, including subs, calzones, and (awesome) quesadillas. The oldest student-run collective at UMass, Snack Bar was started in 1971. Currently open Sunday through Thursday from 7:00 pm to 11:45 pm, Sylvan Snack Bar also offers delivery services in the Sylvan area.

For the full menu or to place an order, visit their website here.

Alex Genovese can be contacted at [email protected], Follow him on Twitter @alex_genovese1.


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