UConn Co-op fighting to keep campus presence

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STORRS – The University of Connecticut will soon begin hearing proposals from organizations and corporations that wish to operate its bookstores, and potentially replace the UConn Co-op.

In December, the university opened a competitive process to explore other options and choose the operator that best suits the university’s needs.

The UConn Co-op is one of those options. The not-for-profit organization, which is owned by its members, is fighting to keep its place on campus and has launched a campaign to prove to the selection committee it has the support of the UConn community.

“We want them to show the selection committee that they want us to be here,” said David Anzini, a student board member on the UConn Co-op Board of Directors.

A group of student ambassadors for the Co-op have launched their “Save the Co-op” campaign on social media, have launched a change.org petition, and are reaching out to students in person to get them involved.

“A lot of the promotion is making sure the students know all the different ways the co-op could help them, making sure they realize all the different ways the co-op could benefit them,” explained student ambassador Carter Janssen.

The co-op prides itself on providing not just a place to shop, but also providing services to students they may need, including bus tickets, shipping services, and an Apple certified repair station on site.

“Those aren`t all super profit-making endeavors, but they`re the types of things that our members want and demand, and the types of things that would probably go away if we weren`t here,” said Timothy Dzurilla, Chair of the UConn Co-op Board of Directors.

Stephanie Reitz, spokesperson for UConn, said this process began when the Co-op’s Board of Directors approached the university with some financial problems and concerns about long-term viability.

“Following several months of conversations with the Co-op, the university decided that the time was right to explore its options when it comes to potential bookstore operators,” said Reitz, in an e-mail.

“To do this, UConn initiated a competitive process to compare alternatives, which the Co-op is participating in. UConn’s aim is to ensure UConn’s bookstore is providing the highest quality service to the university community, including students, faculty, staff, fans, and supporters.”

The Co-op will present their proposal to the selection committee on February 8th. Meanwhile, they’re hosting a rally from 10am-12pm to demonstrate support.