Every year with the shuffle of autumn leaves, Carlisle residents sense increased excitement on the western end of town as Dickinson College students return. This bustle extends beyond the campus to reach every business and organization in downtown Carlisle.
The business community is positively impacted by Dickinson College’s presence. Businesses and organizations of all types mutually benefit from interactions with Dickinson students and faculty.
Benefits to Business-to-Community Organizations
Customer-oriented businesses directly benefit from Dickinson students and their families. Restaurants, retail locations, and the hospitality industry are some of the most obvious places to see this advantage. In 2016, 2,420 students attended Dickinson. That resulted in two thousand individuals eating in restaurants and shopping in stores who might not otherwise have come to Carlisle. There are over 20 restaurants located within walking distance of the campus as well as many shops, exercise studios, galleries, service providers and enrichment venues. The student population alone provides an excellent boost to our local economy. With 78% of students living out of state, Dickinson College attracts an influx of visitors on move-in day, homecoming weekend, and commencement. These visitors look to local businesses for lodging, dining, shopping, and entertainment.
Opportunities for Professional and Non-profit Organizations
Professional institutions and non-profit organizations can benefit from the talent and energy of Dickinson students while helping students apply lessons they learn in the classroom to real-world experience. Students interact with the professional and non-profit community through internships, externships, and volunteer programs.
Summer internships, a crucial part of higher education, provide necessary experience for graduates seeking a job after college. If your business offers a flexible intern schedule, Dickinson College students can keep your internship program thriving year-round with fresh perspectives and enthusiasm. With over 80 fields of study offered at the college, your business is bound to find a student who would be the perfect fit for your program.
Last year, Dickinson started a new initiative—externships. These one-day to one-week experiences give students a taste of what it is like to work for an organization. Externships range from having a job shadowing opportunity to taking responsibility for completing a full project. These are especially excellent for organizations which might not be able to offer a full semester-long internship program.
Hundreds of Dickinson students volunteer every year in non-profit organizations and various service programs. Dickinson’s program, the Montgomery Service Leaders, connects students with local service opportunities and creates a measurable academic experience.
Helping the Greater Carlisle Community
Dickinson College can also benefit community members who are not directly connected with the business community. The public can attend almost all Dickinson events for free. These events include musical and dance recitals, art exhibits, and speeches by speakers from all around the country through The Clark Forum for Contemporary Issues. Dickinson College Athletics boasts eleven sports teams throughout the year for both men and women that the community may watch.
Community members are also welcome to use the Waidner-Spahr Library, enjoy a meal in the dining hall, or stop by the Quarry for a Caramel Macchiato. “We welcome Carlisle residents to feel welcome on campus and like we’re their home, too,” Ashley Perzyna, Dickinson College Chief of Staff, said. After all, what could be more inviting than taking a break in one of the bright red Adirondack chairs that dot the campus?
Dickinson College also started The Greater Carlisle Project to serve as a source of information and a voice for the community. The organization focuses on enhancing long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Some of its recent activities included Heritage Week and the state-wide Conference on Heritage.
You as a business or individual can mutually benefit from Dickinson College. As a retailer or eatery, you could offer specials or a theme night to encourage foot traffic from students. Business professionals may consult the Career Center to design flexible internship opportunities. Carlisle residents might take in a Red Devils football game on a Saturday afternoon or enjoy a pizza topped with Dickinson Farm veggies at Farmers on the Square.
Dickinson leadership uses three thematic pillars to drive its vision—sustainability, global education, and civic and community engagement. Dickinson’s President, Margee Ensign, strives to use these pillars to make Dickinson an excellent neighbor and steward to Carlisle. Perzyna states, “This is an exciting time for the college. President Ensign believes that the liberal arts are inherently useful and that Dickinson must be a place where education comes to life and community partnerships thrive. Together, with the community, we are united in working for the common good.”
The Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting its Annual Meeting on October 18, 2017, at Dickinson’s Holland Union Building from 12:00-1:30 p.m. President Ensign, is the keynote speaker of this event. The public is invited to attend and hear more about Ensign’s background, her impressions of Carlisle, and her vision for the Dickinson community. Visit CarlisleChamber.org or call 717-243-4515 to register.