UMass Amherst

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the student-run businesses and where are they located?
    The 7 UMass student run businesses, operating under the oversight of the Center for Student Business, form an ambitious network of students working for students under the ideals of Rochdale collective management priciples. Each business provides a laboratory for hands-on management experience, as every one is collectively operated and overseen by dedicated undergraduate UMass students. Since the 1970's, UMass students and community have enjoyed and supported these unique locations on campus, making the UMass student run business program one of the most unique and successful of its kind.
  2. How are the student-run businesses different from other businesses?
    Students in the businesses operate and manage their own business, using participatory decision making. The businesses are self-supporting, purchase their own equipment, and provide payroll for all the student co-managers from their own revenue. The businesses are expected to generate sufficient income to make the investments that will insure long-term survival.
    The students work on committees that are responsible for financial support such as bookkeeping, payroll, and operational activities such as purchasing and hiring. The same student that sells your "grilled turkey with cucumbers and ranch dressing sub" may also have been the student who ordered the turkey, cut the cucumbers or tracked payroll for the business.
  3. What is the relationship of the SGA to the Student Businesses?
    The Student Government Association (SGA) has funded the Center for Student Business to provide guidance and training for registered student businesses at UMass Amherst. A registered student business follows the guidelines as stipulated in the Constitution and By-Laws of the SGA, updated 9.1.03, under Title VII, Chapter 9, Section 1 through 4.
  4. What is the role of the CSB for the student businesses?
    The role of the Center for Student Business is to provide guidance, training and oversight for the student businesses, within the university network as well as the larger business context.
    Under the guidance of the CSB, students learn from their experience, gain life and leadership skills that enhance their academic learning while making a positive contribution to their community.
  5. What is the Board of Student Businesses?
    The Board establishes a formal network for the student business community; representatives from each of the student businesses meet weekly to share information and insure that each of the businesses support and assist each other. The Board provides an additional dimension to the community, further integrating the 150 business comanagers.
  6. How do I apply to work in a student business?
    Each business hires once or twice a semester, either for the current semester or anticipating openings for the next semester. Applications are available in the business or the CSB. You can fill one or more out, submit it to the business and they will call you for an interview. If you are interested, feel free to let the CSB know and we will put you on a potential employment list.
  7. Do I have to be a business major to work in a student business?
    No, in fact the student business community strives for extreme diversity. Student business employees are known as co managers; they work cooperatively with fellow co-managers, learn the challenges of daily business issues, and respect the need for long term survival of the business so that future students will have the same opportunity.
  8. How can I start a student business?
    A business owned by a student is distinct from a student run business as sponsored by the SGA. Any student may start a business at UMass Amherst, according to the established rights of commerce by working through the University Office of Administration and Finance. The limitations of the periods of operation and the mobility of the market challenge the success of such an effort.
    Therefore a student run business, working under the guidelines of the SGA, has several advantages. It has the support of the CSB, it has limited liability and it has the community of the other student run businesses. Few other Universities offer this opportunity.