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COINS is a student-managed organization that invests over $1,300,000 of the university’s endowment in commodity markets.

By investing real money, our members combine traditional classroom education with real-world market experience.

Our mission

To yield a positive, risk-adjusted return for the Virginia Tech Foundation and enhance the learning experience of Virginia Tech students, the primary objective of COINS is to provide a framework for hands-on experience in analysis and trading within commodity ETF/ETN markets. COINS provides both basic and advanced education in commodity market analysis for its members through formal training programs, real-life trading experience, and interaction with industry experts and peers across the country through competitions and conference travel.

Debbie and Bruce Holland pictured with Leon Geyer (L)
Debbie and Bruce Holland pictured with Leon Geyer (L)

Our history

COINS was formed in the Fall of 2012 after Virginia Tech alumnus Bruce Holland and his wife, Debbie, reached out to the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics to create an opportunity for students to learn first-hand about commodity markets. The Hollands made a substantial donation and partnered with the department and the Virginia Tech Foundation to establish the COINS program.

Initially, the group had just four students and two faculty advisors, investing in four commodities: corn, soybeans, wheat, and livestock. Since our start, the group has seen much success, growing in membership size, increasing its diversity on campus, and expanding its portfolio. 

Our commitment to diversity also sets us apart from other organizations; we value different perspectives and voices, and are intentionally open to all majors, with more than 15 currently represented in COINS. Unique for an investing group, sixty-eight percent (68%) of members are currently enrolled in various STEM majors. We are a diverse group composed of finance, engineering, computer science, agricultural and applied economics, and math majors. This led to members of the group placing in all kinds of industries ranging from commodity trading, hedge funds, sales & trading, and wealth management to software engineering.


COINS is immensely grateful for the continuous support of the Virginia Tech Foundation. We are committed to maintaining their values and principles in our investment process and strategy.