As many students loaded up their cars with parents buzzing around, I couldn’t help but identify with those students who live so far away as to need to store stuff on campus. I certainly am not going to bring my winter coats and bedding back to San Francisco so I too will need to store all the “stuff” too. So, I could rent a storage space in town with a few friends or maybe even see if some East Coasters would be willing to store my stuff for the summer and then drive back with it in September. What intrigued me most, though, when looking to options was the student-run storage option called: Campus Storage Online. This is a for-profit business started by students to help folks store their stuff over the summer. They come to your dorm room, pick up your boxes, store them, and deliver the boxes back to your new dorm room next year. This seems like a bunch of business-minded students who are filling a need on campus.
Their mission statement reads:
We run this business to benefit not only ourselves, but the Middlebury College Community as well. Since we store groups of belongings together, we are able to charge much less than the cost of renting an individual unit for the summer.
We are talking some serious cash too with the minimum payment set at $75 ($10 for each additional 18 by 18 by 18 unit). Even if only a quarter of the school (surely, more than 25% cannot bring their belongings home over the summer due to location) uses the service at its minimum, they take in nearly $50,000 (not including costs). The question is how much they are marking up the cost to store a box. Surely, their costs are considerably lower than storage spaces in town which must be accessable over the summer. They rent space in bulk and do not need access for several months. But is it alright for them to essentially have the monopoly on storage? Is this a group of students who are looking out for the school or are looking out for themselves?