Greater Philadelphia’s Knowledge Industry Partnership (KIP), a coalition of economic development and higher education leaders, recently launched the “One Big Campus” initiative, a three-year, multi-million dollar program to market Philadelphia as a premier college destination.
This program combines higher education, tourism and economic development to secure a leadership position as a regional center for higher education, and to prevent “brain drain,” the phenomenon of college graduates leaving a geographic region and thereby hurting that region’s economy.
The primary goal of this initiative is to generate positive experiences throughout the entire collegiate life cycle, from prospect to student to graduate. The initiative hopes young people develop a strong emotional attachment to the area and ultimately a desire to remain in the area after graduation. It is the country’s first coordinated effort by a region to attract more college students, create valuable experiences for them, and establish programs to encourage graduates to begin their careers in Philadelphia.
To attract more students to colleges and universities in Philadelphia, the program created a $1 million advertising campaign through print and radio. Ads will appear in publications including U.S. News and World Report and College Bound magazine as well as on radio stations throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
Philadelphia enrolls close to 300,000 students in its more than 80 colleges and universities. To create a vibrant college experience for students, the Partnership developed the Campus Philly Discount Program for students enrolled in college, encouraging them to get off campus and explore the region. To help define the region as “One Big Campus,” 12 “student zones” of student interest have been designated. These zones include South Street, King of Prussia and Fairmount Park.
To provide incentive for students to visit these areas, various restaurants, shops and cultural venues including Café Spice, The Gap and the African American Museum of Philadelphia, will offer student discounts. Discounts may be obtained by attaching a special Campus Philly student discount sticker onto a student ID or by downloading coupons from the Campus Philly Web site, www.campusphilly.org.
To encourage more students to remain in the region after graduation and achieve successful careers, thereby stimulating the region’s economy, the Partnership announced the Internship-in-a-Box system, the first of several programs to create new levels of opportunities for career-minded students. This step-by-step program, intended to create 5,000 new internships over the next three years, will help small and mid-sized businesses and organizations start internship programs for regional college students. These internships will help students build their professional network and increase opportunities of finding a job and staying in the region.
On Temple’s campus, the program initiative was met with mixed reviews. Senior Brandon Walton, an education major from Allentown, Pa., believes One Big Campus is “a good economic campaign to encourage more students to start their careers in Philadelphia.” He added he doesn’t plan on staying in Philadelphia after graduation, but if an opportunity arose he would.
Senior Lisa Mishraky had a different view. Mishraky, a Social Work major from Baltimore said, “the campaign has no affect on me. I think the program should focus more on students within the city rather than going elsewhere to find students. The city should try to cultivate the strength of students from elementary and middle school levels and work with them through college. That way, students eligible for college are there in the community already, and when they graduate, they will be prominent leaders in the community, bringing in resources that way.”
Nicole White, also a senior and a Tourism and Hospitality Management major from New Jersey, said she planned on remaining in the area for only a few years. On KIP’s campaign she added, “if they want to spend money on education so bad, they need to put it into the public school system and let the individual universities develop their own programs to help students explore the city.”
Andrea Boston can be reached at email@example.com.