October 23, 2003

Student Agencies to Make 5-Percent Donation to C.U.

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Student Agencies Inc., a student-run organization based in Collegetown, will soon be donating 5 percent of the revenues from its Big Red Shipping & Storage division to Cornell University.

Through an arrangement with Campus Life, Big Red Shipping & Storage has been awarded preferred vendor status and is permitted to provide its services on campus. Currently, Big Red has locations in Cascadilla Hall, Noyes Community Center, Robert Purcell Community Center and Appel Commons, where they offer boxes and drop-off desks for students who wish to store their items.

Big Red became a Cornell-preferred vendor last year, when it won a competitive bid against other organizations, making it one of the only student-run organizations to enter into such an agreement with the University.

“My sense was that [Campus Life was] interested in really providing a user-friendly service to the students,” said Dan Kathan MBA ’70, the Student Agencies general manager.

“Also,” added Allison Doliner ’03, “Campus Life was very happy to be working with a company that [is] run by Cornell students.”

Almost all employees of Student Agencies are current Cornell students, and they have “almost total control” over the business, Doliner said.

In addition to providing Campus Life with competitive pricing for its services, Big Red Shipping & Storage also pledged to donate 5 percent of its revenues back to Cornell. Kathan explained that this promise is in accordance with “the nature of [the Student Agencies] mission.”

Kathan noted that Student Agencies has also been offering scholarships to certain Cornell students, who are selected primarily from within the ranks of Student Agencies, for several years now. These scholarships are obtained from the revenue of the entire organization, which, in addition to shipping and storage services, includes a market research group, a moving company, a campus promotion division and a travel company which provides bus tickets and other services at its Collegetown location.

The donation of revenues from Big Red represents another way in which Student Agencies is connected to Cornell. The organization has been closely associated with the University since its inception.

“If you go back to our roots, [it] was actually started by a Cornell student as a laundry business to help fund his education in 1894,” Kathan said. “Somewhere along the way,” he continued, “the emphasis has shifted from a way to fund your education to primarily being a really good learning experience.”

Doliner agreed.

“Student Agencies is such a phenomenal opportunity for students — being able to go into an interview and talk about Student Agencies is tremendous,” she said.

Currently, Student Agencies’ parent organization is a nonprofit entity, and Cornell is its beneficiary.

By providing scholarship money, additional donations, employment, managerial experience and shipping services to Cornell, Student Agencies employees hope to remain a beneficial part of the Cornell community.

“We’ve had an opportunity to form a great relationship with Cornell, and since we’re all Cornell students, being able to work with Campus Life has been fantastic for us,” Doliner said.

Archived article by Andrew Beckwith