Executive Summary

Allegheny College sought to deepen their long term relationship with the City of Meadville and its local business community. Their goal was to engage students to be interested and involved in the downtown, formulate partnerships between businesses and the college, encourage the downtown business community to welcome students and be more involved with the campus, and create a relationship that would be marketable to potential students and families a vibrant Allegheny is a vibrant Meadville and vice versa. Allegheny was seeking a strategy for community engagement that was both actionable and sustainable.

Challenges

Due to the nature of higher education, creating a sustainable program was key. Previous efforts have been short lived and lacked continuity as faculty and students came and left. This engagement strategy also had to reach both every stage of the student life cycle and have some near immediate action steps to build excitement while committees and structures were being created.

Short and long term engagement

The main goal of this project was to create an actionable and sustainable engagement plan for deepening relations between the campus and business community.

A thorough study was performed, focusing on the current relationship, other campus community relationship efforts nationwide, and interviews with business owners, students, and community leaders.

From this research, a strategy was formulated for further engagement with both a long-term structure and short term deliverables to achieve immediate excitement and buy-in.

Ensure success and sustainability

Structures and benchmarks were set up to ensure success and sustainability of a long term engagement committee while short term projects were used to build interest.

Partnership with the city

City on a Holiday Shopping Commercial

As an immediate step, partnership with the City on a Holiday Shopping Commercial helped get Allegheny involved in driving retail to the local business community.

Map Project

Another initial project coming out of the strategy a downtown Meadville map highlighting businesses, bus routes, etc. to attract students to local offerings. Nearly 10,000 have used the map since its recent unveiling.