Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, Kansas
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News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Return of students boosts local economy

With Pittsburg State University students on their way back to school, one would think Monday would be the start of frenzied activity across campus.

But behind the scenes, some university departments – and Pittsburg businesses – have been working for weeks to prepare for the arrival of thousands of students this weekend.

The PSU Department of Housing has been checking students into dorms since August 1. So far, about 300 students from specialty groups like athletics, marching band, sororities, and international students have signed in and are getting their new homes ready. The dorms officially open for all other students beginning at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Aug. 18. Connie Malle, director of housing, says about 1,100 students will be moved in by Sunday night.

“We’re in overflow and we still have people walking in, so we’re prepared for a waiting list,” she said. “So far, we’ve given all our RAs roommates and turned a few single rooms into double rooms. We had a waiting list last year but we had it taken care of within a couple of weeks.”

The arrival of so many students has an impact not only on the campus, but also on the businesses in the community. Blake Benson, president of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, says some restaurants and retail outlets plan their year around the arrival of students.

“The business owners mark this week on their calendars,” Benson said. “The impact is so significant. There are a large number of businesses that probably wouldn’t be able to make it year-round without those students. They plan their business affairs accordingly so they can survive until the students come back.”

Benson estimates that after a student’s dollar turns over a number of times, the economic impact of the university is in the billions – a number he bases off a 2002 economic report prepared by PSU. But it’s the energy of the students, he says, that is priceless to Pittsburg.

“There’s a significant injection of enthusiasm,” he said. “The students create a contagious energy, and you can feel it all over town.”

---Pitt State---