Off-Third: Hamilton is behind storage company email spam

The soon-to-be-former NYU president has cast his chemistry accolades aside for a new entrepreneurial endeavor ― storing his students’ belongings.


Samson Tu and Sam Klein

(Photo by Sam Klein, Illustration by Samson Tu)

Mayee Yeh, Editor-at-Large

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

While NYU students fight each other for a seat in Bobst and practically shove each other into West Fourth Street while walking to class, President Andrew Hamilton has been meticulously planning another way to disrupt the student body. Much like how large restaurant chains and ghost kitchens collaborate with marketing companies to dupe consumers, Hamilton has collaborated with U-Haul to do the same with Storage Scholars.

Last fall, many NYU students’ personal belongings were lost or broken at the hands of Dorm2Dorm, a company that offers temporary storage over the summer. While some voiced their personal dissatisfaction with the service, other customers filed over 85 complaints with the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection. Their actions eventually led to an exhaustive lawsuit, which noted at least 1,200 violations of consumer protection law.

One former user, who asked to remain anonymous in fear of being expelled, said that their experience with the storage company made them distrustful of third-party storage services.

“The boxes arrived after I decided to transfer to Columbia, smelled like they had been through Washington Square Park and back, and inside was a rabbit that had been eating through not only the box, but my designer clothes,” they said. “I don’t think I could ever give a storage service another chance.”

However, the horror stories of the fall 2022 semester do not seem to be scaring everyone away. The company is still making its entrance into NYU students’ lives through its promotion via automatic emails, encouraging students to pack up early. Storage Scholars’ entrepreneurial backstory, “Shark Tank” appearance and investment from Mark Cuban have successfully convinced many first-years that the company was supposedly founded by two North Carolina college students. 

“They seem like nice boys,” said one first-year’s mother. “Such sweet faces would never try to dupe me of my money, or force me to repurchase all of my child’s necessities.”

Last week, an accidental email chain sent to all NYU students revealed some of Hamilton’s antics. The president authorized the release of student emails to Storage Scholars, causing an onslaught of weekly emails urging students to “let the experts handle the moving.”

“Calling a cohort of recent graduates ‘experts’ is a very effective marketing strategy, especially considering that Dorm2Dorm ― or Storage Scholars, or whatever rebrand the company has made ― caters directly to the university student demographic,” a Stern marketing professor told WSN. “If Andrew Hamilton is really behind this company, his experience with college administration and his access to the largest private university in the United States makes him an economic weapon.”

One of the bills attached to the email chain showed that this year Hamilton diverted $1.3 million away from compensating NYU’s graduate student workers. He put the money toward rebranding Storage Scholars instead — bribing ABC producers, hiring actors and developing a branded Snapchat filter.

Although the graduate student union condemned Hamilton’s actions in a statement earlier today, not everyone seems to share that opinion.

“It’s frustrating for sure, but I really get what Andy was going for,” a graduate student who looked suspiciously like a certain NYU spokesperson, but was wearing Carhartt and an oversized 100 gecs shirt, said. “My partner plans on using Storage Scholars because it’s ‘student storage made easy.’”

Based on a poll conducted in Gould Plaza, 83% of students at NYU consider Hamilton’s endeavor not to be malicious, but an innovation. Some participants said they consider it to be a side gig, like flipping houses. Other members of the community said that the difficulties of the job market or even finding an internship for the summer has made them interested in Storage Scholars’ career opportunities. 

“A win is a win in my book,” said a CAS econ student planning an internal transfer to Stern. “I hope my experience will show that I have a lot of #VioletPride and get me more of an in with the big guy.”

Hamilton’s spokesperson explained that the president’s actions, “while manipulative, were not malicious,” because the president was attempting to make “a breakthrough in business theory through a long-neglected intersection, storage.”

“It’s a synthesis of wide-scale planning, marketing and a lot of Tetris,” the spokesperson said. “Hamilton’s work with Storage Scholars has validated the idea of a scam-to-shazam framework, that with enough willpower and money anyone can go from the negatives into the positives!”

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Mayee Yeh at [email protected].