BURLINGTON – Citing issues such as rising costs, lower enrollment, and the need for more student empowerment, Champlain College in Burlington has announced that it will convert from a traditional college business model over the summer, starting the Fall 2019 term as a student owned-cooperative. Students will now be able to set tuition themselves, while taking on many of the roles previous filled by paid employees.
While some paid staff will stay on, each student that joins the co-op will have an additional responsibility, with duties ranging from cleaning bathrooms to teaching advanced lecture courses. “This is going to save us a lot of money,” said incoming board chair and rising junior Liz Astor. “If we all just pitch in and help out, I think we can make college affordable and fun for everyone.”
Astor hopes to graduate with a degree in Creative Media in 2021, and says she doesn’t think her new duties will get in the way of that goal.
“Sure, it will be a little more work. I have monthly board meetings, and I’m teaching a Criminal Procedure course twice a week, but my mom watched a lot of Law & Order when I was a kid, so with a little online research I think I should be able to handle that pretty easily. Otherwise, it’s business as usual.”
One of the first changes authorized by the new student owners was the prohibition of any classes starting earlier than 11 AM. This passed unanimously via an online student/member vote. Currently the board is drafting a resolution that would provide marijuana to all students during exam weeks, although there is some concern about cost and legality.