An Outside the Box Business
I joined Denison Enterprises my freshman semester, after learning about their creative and student-centric projects at the Involvement Fair.
DE gives students entrepreneurial learning experiences as they plan, launch, and manage businesses to benefit Denison’s student body. The club has four teams, although collaboration and overlap between them is common: Innovation, Technology, Marketing and Finance.
The first week I became involved in designing and distributing marketing materials for DE’s projects and business. I was excited to work with such a collaborative group of students on projects designed to help make students’ lives easier.
In the spring of my freshman year, I created the current DE logo with a senior club member at the time. We used Photoshop to create the colorful backsplash intended to look like paintbrush strokes behind the silhouette of the pre-existing logo.
When I was a first-year, most of the people I met from different class years were due to Denison Enterprises.
Through the process, I learned about different resources available for students to utilize on campus, like Mulberry House, which has a room full of computers outfitted with Adobe and other design software. It felt good to be able to work alongside a senior and contribute to developing a new brand image for the club on the same level. When I was a first-year, most of the people I met from different class years were due to Denison Enterprises.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year, when I was able to become more involved in the planning process and witness firsthand the positive impact it had on students’ move-out, move-in, and summer storage experiences, that Box!t became a real passion of mine.
The Box!t premise is to rent storage boxes to students that DE members and student workers collect at the end of the semester. We store the boxes over the summer at an independent facility, and redeliver them to their new room assignments in the fall.
Students rent and pay for storage boxes and additional storage items online when they make their Box!t reservation. The whole process is a lesson in planning, financial management and logistics… especially logistics.
By my junior year, when I had a whole year’s worth of experience, it was time to evaluate efficiency and service quality with my team (Kira Barr ‘20 and Lauren Kessler ‘21). These discussions led to a Box!t reboot.
I learned a lot about systems operations, and logistics, spreadsheets, keeping track of finances, coordinating the payroll, scheduling worker shifts, storage company rental, item pick-ups and drop-offs, contract writing, and other important aspects of managing a large-scale, university-wide service.
Over 100 students purchased moving boxes last year, and we generated over $10,000 for all our hard work. The money goes toward project expenses, storage fees, paying student workers, and investing in future ventures. Since membership in the club is intended to be a learning experience above all else, none of the money goes back to DE members unless they are approved and paid to work as student movers in the fall or spring. We invest all net profits back into the club.
Being involved with a business from start to finish in marketing and delivering a product, with a team of hard working students has been a highlight of my time here at Denison.
During my four years with DE, I’ve been involved with two other major projects. The first is Book!t, a textbook resale business designed to offer better commissions for sellers and prices for buyers than the bookstore. The second is DECares, a customizable care package business where you can order online and send to any Denison student.
Dana Randall ‘21, a history major with concentrations in Latin American & Caribbean Studies and narrative journalism, shares how managing a student-run business has helped prepare her for life beyond Denison.