Michele Gretch-Carter, UNC Student Stores

Finance and Operations provides essential services that support the daily activities of more than 29,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs at the University. Most of these services run in the background, and we are happy if students can take them for granted. But sometimes we have the opportunity to interact with students on a more personal level, which can be a rewarding experience for staff and students. Read more about how Finance and Operations staff enrich the quality of life for the campus community and support student success: What We Do: Supporting Students.

Hundreds of students flock to UNC Student Stores every day to run errands, grab a snack or coffee, study or shop. Student Stores is a destination spot on campus, but it goes beyond offering school supplies and memorabilia – it supports Carolina’s mission by maintaining affordability and contributing to student scholarships.

All net revenue from Student Stores supports need- and merit-based scholarships, and the textbook affordability program has saved students millions.

“The last three years we’ve saved students over $6 million and more than half of that comes from our textbook rental program,” said Michele Gretch-Carter, director of UNC Student Stores. “We want to make sure that we’re a one-stop shop for academic materials and relevant to what the students are needing for their courses.”

Staying relevant to students allows Student Stores to continue to provide affordable academic options. By offering price matching for textbooks and reducing prices by 10% before they are put on shelves, Student Stores ensures that every student gets the materials they need in a timely and affordable manner.

“The general merchandise, the café, the Pit Stop, they’re all important pieces of our business,” said Gretch-Carter. “But making sure that we have the right material at the right time for students’ courses — that’s why the students are here and that’s a function of everything we do, from how we sell our textbooks to how we employ our students.”

Even through the employment strategy of hiring students, UNC Student Stores supports students by providing work experience and learning opportunities, as well as a pay check. Students are scheduled around their class hours so academics are always given a priority. Student Stores would not be here without the academic mission, and operate around the focus of giving students the best opportunities to succeed during their time at Carolina.

“Working at the Student Stores has taught me a lot about managing my time and has made me a more well-rounded person and given me some really great skills that I will use for the rest of my life,” said Kristen Hefner, a full-time UNC Student Stores employee, who is currently enrolled at Carolina. “Student Stores is really seen as a centerpiece of campus.”

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