The upcoming Philadelphia College Festival is “part of a larger effort” to attract students to the Philadelphia region and keep them here after they have graduated, according to city and non-profit officials.
The Festival will feature a week of activities aimed at local college students, and will kick off Saturday with a free concert on Ben Franklin Parkway with the Roots and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
All of the Parkway’s museums, such as the Franklin Institute, will have free admission for college students with ID on Saturday.
During the following week through Sept. 28, various activities will take place throughout the city.
Students will be able to buy a one-day pass for SEPTA for $10 that allows them to ride all of the city’s transit system to get to and from events. Students can also get discounts with their pass.
The College Festival is designed to acquaint students with the social opportunities available to students in Philadelphia, according to Deputy Director of Commerce Duane Bumb.
“From a larger perspective [beyond the Festival], the city wants to attract students to Philadelphia and keep them here,” said Bumb.
To this end, the city, non-profit groups and local corporations have designed a three-stage strategy, according to the Director of Campus Philly, John Herrmann.
Campus Philly is a non-profit organization that runs campusphilly.org, a website Herrmann says is intended to connect college students in the region “to each other and their communities.”
The Campus Philly Website and the College Festival represent one part of this strategy, namely, to make students familiar with Philadelphia as a place to live.
“I think a lot of students feel that events [in Philadelphia] are for people besides them,” he added.
Local corporations in the “knowledge industry” are particularly interested in getting more students to stay in the region. According to Bumb, the knowledge industry is made up of companies in fields like biotechnology and scientific research.
“However, regardless of major, with the fast changing economy, liberal arts students are in a great position to take advantage of career opportunities,” Bumb said.
He added that “Fall was the right time to introduce students to the assets and amenities” of Philadelphia through the College Festival.
“We want to show people why Philadelphia is a great place to live,” said Bumb.
He described the SEPTA pass as a way to get students acquainted with the city’s public transportation system.
He said that many students from outside the city are uneasy using SEPTA, and they hope to change this.
During the next year, Bumb said, there will be a variety of programs including interview skill seminars and a business plan competition geared towards interesting students in local companies.
Attracting students to Philadelphia is the third goal of the overall initiative. The Knowledge Industry Partnership is leading this effort.
The partnership is a coalition of colleges and universities, civic groups, and businesses, according to the partnership’s project manager, Annette Goldberg.
“We want to make people aware of Philadelphia as a college destination,” said Goldberg.
The partnership is set to begin a marketing campaign to help attract students.
The campaign will include print ads in The New York Times and US News and World Report, as well as “niche marketing” aimed at students with specific interests.
The partnership is also working with Campus Visit Philadelphia, an organization that helps high school students make travel arrangements to visit schools in Philadelphia.
Campus Visit offers discounts on airline and train travel as well hotel stays in the city.
For more information on the Philadelphia College Festival and a schedule of events, go to www.campusphilly.org
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org