It is likely most MSU students have shopped at the MSU bookstore at some point in their college careers and although the MSU bookstore claims to be student owned, the extent of involvement on the part of most students is the role of a customer.
What does it mean for the bookstore to be student owned?
Students influence the operation of the bookstore through their business and through a Board of Directors, and all profits received by the bookstore are funneled back into the store’s operation in order to maintain the lowest possible prices.
This board is comprised of both students and faculty who are elected to the position. The chair of this board is Tom Stump, Director of Auxiliary Services at MSU. Currently, the three faculty members serving on the board are Jack Dockery of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Mark Giullian of the College of Business and Joseph Fedock of the College of Engineering. Students serving on the board are Kiah Abbey, Cody Donaugh and Schuyler Kinneman.
The purpose of having students on this board is to provide communication between the bookstore and the student body. As the store is in place to serve the campus community, the board values the input of students and advocates for their needs. As the student body continues to grow, the MSU bookstore evolves to meet new demand. The bookstore opened in 1931 and was much smaller than it is now; since its beginning it has grown from a single-person service counter to an 85-employee operation occupying a large space in the basement of the SUB. Not only has the bookstore grown in physical size, but it has also diversified the products it sells. In addition to textbooks, the bookstore sells Bobcat merchandise, gifts, and technology.
There are a variety of ways that bookstores operate at universities. Some are owned by large chains, such as Barnes and Noble, where the goal of the store is to turn a profit for the company. Others are affiliated with the university. In the case of MSU, the bookstore is a non-profit business. It operates independently of the university and revenue earned is applied to offering lower prices to students on books. Students receive owner benefits through these discounts.