USG makes proposal to replace vacated credit union offices

Jenna Staul

Group discussing a student-ran marketing agency in empty space

Undergraduate Student Senate and the Center of Excellence for Entrepreneurial and Business Innovation are currently in talks with members of the university administration to open a student-operated marketing agency.

The proposed agency would occupy the office space on the second floor of the Student Center that will be left vacant after the Kent Credit Union’s contract expires May 31. If opened, the agency will cater to university organizations and small businesses.

“The ideas are kind of solidified,” USG Executive Director Jonathan Bey said. “We’re waiting on actual cost estimates from the entrepreneurial lab (Center of Excellence for Entrepreneurial and Business Innovation).”

Bey said it is unlikely USG would contribute money to the business out of the group’s operating budget. He said most of the cost of the agency would be funded through the Center of Excellence for Entrepreneurial and Business Innovation. The center would also be responsible for day-to-day management of the agency.

Lee McMannis, the entrepreneur-in-residence for the center, said the cost will be paid for through the center’s own funding.

“There are funds available through the center,” McMannis said. “There are private donation and university funding that are available for student-run businesses.”

McMannis said he was unsure of how many employees would be needed to operate the business.

“To my knowledge, the exact structure is still to be ironed out,” McMannis said. “It’s all underway.”

Bey said he and former Executive Director Katie Hale have met with several administrators in the last few weeks, including Pete Goldsmith, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, and Provost Robert Frank to discuss the possibility of sponsoring the new business.

Bey said the former USS devised much of the idea for the business over the last several months and that Hale had previously met with administrators to discuss details.

“The idea came from all of us in the past USS,” Bey said.

USG is also looking into plans to bring a student-operated DVD and video game rental space to the music listening center that, if opened, will be operated in the same manner as the marketing agency.

The offices currently occupied by the Kent Credit Union will be renovated to fit the needs of whatever business takes up the space, Bey said. No immediate plans for renovation of the space are currently underway.

Bey said if the agency fails to open, USG will look into other options to fill the vacated office space.

Though no specific schedule exists, the group hopes to unveil the agency by Fall 2008.

“We’re just waiting to see how much and when I have the cost report,” Bey said. “Ideally, we would like to have everything set by the time (senior vice president for administration David) Creamer leaves in May.”

Contact student politics reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].