“The purpose of this Association is to supply its Members with superior services and commodities at substantial savings in time and money by collective buying and maintaining efficient management and good credit for its members.” (Excerpt from bylaws)
All non-profit student organizations at the University of Wisconsin are eligible for membership in the University Purchasing & Management Cooperative. The basic requirements are:
The Guarantee Fund of each member acts as a “security deposit” against any charges the member makes on UPMC accounts, and as “working capital” – UPMC uses the money to pay the membership’s bills while waiting for the members to remit their payments. The amount varies for each member; the initial amount is generally determined based upon the particular member’s estimated monthly purchases.
Every month a statement is sent to each active member detailing their charges for the previous month. At this time, 1% Guaranty Fund addition is assessed based upon the monthly subtotal; the 1% is simply added to the members’ accounts within the Cooperative. Members also are billed for employee health care (an optional service) on the statements. Remittance for the health care may be made by the employee; however, the organization is ultimately responsible for payment.
At the end of each fiscal year the “profit” is determined and distributed to each member as a dividend based upon their percentage of the total Cooperative purchases over the year. The 2001-02 “profit” was $18,600, on approximately $1,050,000 in total purchases for the year. The Board of Governors voted, as usual, to rebate the entire profit to the membership – approximately a 1.8% return on all purchases made by each member.
The UPMC Board of Governors is generally composed of six students and seven “senior members”, all of whom are elected by the membership at the annual meeting. The “senior” members are drawn from UPMC members’ alumni as well as the faculty and staff of the University of Wisconsin. All Governors are volunteers. The Board is charged with the task of selecting and hiring the Executive Director, and does have the power to levy additional fees or charges to members in order to preserve the Cooperative’s profitability. In the early 1990’s, management suggested, and the board agreed, that the additional 1/2% fee charged through the 1980’s be discontinued. As of May 2002, no additional fees were in effect.