Campus card resides at heart of strong campus-community collaboration
An improved town-and-gown relationship, in this way, can assist a campus to grow and thrive, stresses Emery. “It can mean an increase in admissions and possibly sponsorships or advertising from local businesses.”
As for the impact of the campus card, CBORD’s Takieddine explains the town-and-gown relationship can even transcend the almighty dollar. “We work with several institutions in smaller communities where the campuses have decided to lower, or even forgo, the campus revenue share from the off-campus program in order to offer merchants the lowest rate possible to accept the campus card,” he adds. “By offering a very low interchange rate, these schools are demonstrating their desire to strengthen the town-and-gown relationship and overall student experience.”
Additionally, there are numerous examples of campuses that have incorporated parts of a meal plan to be used at off-campus locations, says Takieddine. “These campuses see fantastic participation rates in their programs, which makes for both happy merchants and happy students,” he says. “That’s usually a sure-fire sign of a successful town-and-gown relationship.”
The common thread in the town-and-gown conversation is community. But community is a matter of perspective. It’s easy to view an institution in terms of the immediate confines of campus, but it’s how a campus assimilates with and cares for the larger community that pays real dividends.
In a modern era of higher education where growth is the only constant, campuses must be mindful of their surroundings. Forging lasting, symbiotic relationships with the surrounding community is key to a thriving campus environment and a healthy community.