Sun File Photo

Students work and chat in EHub, a popular workspace for both students and startups at 409 College Ave., Oct. 17, 2017.

September 13, 2018

‘Very Low’ Bar to Earn Membership Required for eHub Access, S.A. Executive Vice President Says

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Despite policy changes, bars to earn the membership required to enter eHub during restricted hours are “low,” according to Zachary J. Schulman ’87, J.D. ’90, director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell.

The bars are so low, in fact, that saying, “I’m just interested in entrepreneurship and I want to be in this space to see what’s happening there” could get you into eHub, according to Joe Anderson ’20, S.A. executive vice president, who shared the conclusions of his discussion with Schulman at a Sept. 6 S.A. meeting.

Schulman’s comments clarify a policy change rolled out this fall that restricted access to the eHub locations in Kennedy Hall and Collegetown only to eHub members during weekends and weekdays after 6 p.m.

eHub also updated their membership policy, mandating applicants to explain the entrepreneurial activities they are part of, The Sun previously reported. Before this fall, Cornellians were required to provide such information only if they wanted to reserve eHub conference spaces.

Schulman said that while “students need to show how their uses relates to entrepreneurship” to use all eHub spaces after 6 p.m., “‘the bar’ for this is not high, but there is a bar,” he told The Sun.

“[Entrepreneurship activities qualifying for membership] could be course work related (team project that involves entrepreneurship somehow), student activity related (like club work related to entrepreneurship), business exploration related or startup related, for example,” Schulman wrote in an email.

Schulman further added that the above list of entrepreneurship activities is “not exclusive,” as their membership “test is flexible.”

While Anderson said that the bars set for eHub membership are “very low,” he warned that “if 400 people are like, ‘I just want to learn about entrepreneurship’ to gain a membership,” eHub may be forced to change membership standards again.

Anderson said that the current eHub policy is not final and will change to make sure eHub operates at full capacity.

Several students posted memes on the Facebook page, Cornell: Any Person, Any Meme, lamenting the new restrictive membership policies, with an amateur comic implying the new membership policy emptied eHub rather than create a more entrepreneurial environment.

Anderson corroborated these accounts, noting that under the revised policy, eHub is at half capacity at 6 p.m., whereas it was at “full capacity and overflowing” prior to the rules change.

Schulman, however, said that the objective of the policy changes is not to create a restricted space but to tackle a situation where non-entrepreneurial students “crowded out the students who needed eHub for entrepreneurship activities.”

“Our goal is to maximize [the] use of the eHub space by a broad [of] a group as possible, but in a way that allows students truly working on entrepreneurial pursuits to do just that,” Schulman said. “We want to pull students in the entrepreneurship direction.”

The review of eHub membership applications will be made on a “rolling basis,” Schulman said.