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UC San Diego and Student-Run Co-Ops Sign New Master Space Agreement

The agreement provides sustainable business operations for Groundwork Books, the Food Co-op, the General Store Co-op and the Che Café Collective

Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

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The University of California San Diego and its four student-run co-operatives have signed a new master space agreement to afford these organizations an opportunity to engage with the campus community, enhance the quality of student life, and provide unique cultural experiences. The agreement with Groundwork Books, the Food Co-op, the General Store Co-op and the Che Café Collective is the product of ongoing deliberation between these student organizations and campus leadership.

“UC San Diego strongly supports the campus co-ops and the important experience they provide to our students,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Juan González. “The co-ops provide an enhanced cultural interaction with a diverse student population, bringing new opportunities and engagement that our students would not otherwise encounter. We want our co-ops to thrive and be successful.”

As part of the agreement, the co-ops will be charged rent of only one dollar per year and receive free utilities and UC San Diego will make a significant investment in life and safety and other renovations on the Che Café facility in the coming months. All other co-ops on campus will be open through the summer and fall.

“The cooperatives extend their deepest gratitude to their supporters at UC San Diego and in the broader community, including volunteers, students, alumni and UC San Diego faculty and staff,” said Che Café core member Lane Barlow.

According to Barlow, the co-ops encourage students as well as faculty, staff and alumni to not only patronize them but explore opportunities to volunteer and work. All four co-ops are accepting new member applications and provide training in many transferrable job skills. 

  • The Che Café is San Diego’s premier sober, safe, all-ages DIY music venue, where student, local, and touring bands perform several nights a week. Che Café also operates a vegan cafe and books its ballroom for meetings and workshops. For more information, please email
  • Groundwork Books is a student-run bookstore which has provided UC San Diego students with progressive literature and low-priced textbooks for more than 30 years. Books for Prisoners, a program that provides donated books to those incarcerated by America’s prison industry, also operates out of the Groundwork space. For more information, please email
  • The Food Cooperative is San Diego’s oldest organic vegan grocery store, promoting healthy plant-based diets to students, faculty and staff on the campus and innovating community-supported food distribution systems. For more information, please email
  • The General Store Co-op has long provided students with deals on food, supplies and other great products. The General Store currently operates as a worker’s cooperative, providing experiences to students in all aspects of running a thriving nonprofit business. For more information, please email

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