In the current economic climate, small businesses are struggling to compete with large corporations more than ever before.
Local businesses in the Geneseo community depend on student consumers. The college, however, has created several unwitting barriers between students and the community.
Geneseo, the community, is largely dependent upon Geneseo, the college, for economic prosperity. As such, the college should encourage buying from local stores instead of national corporations to best support the local community.
A recent example of the college's neglect is the turnover of the campus store from locally-owned Sundance Books to the national Follett Corp. While bringing in national competition benefited students' pockets, it left a local business out in the cold.
Another obstacle between students and Main Street is the college's contract with Campus Auxiliary Services. If a student organization wants to cater an event, they have to go through CAS. This restrictive policy not only leads to increased costs (for whatever reason, CAS's prices are far from competitive), but it also leeches income away from local eateries.
Even students buying supplies for residence hall activities are implored to buy from Walmart, because the massive, global company has lower prices than just about anywhere else. Thus, Residence Life doesn't have to reimburse as much money to the students. However, while Walmart as a whole likely wouldn't notice if Geneseo students stopped shopping there, local businesses certainly feel the pinch.
The small town atmosphere is a tangible draw that many students mention in their decision to attend Geneseo. Families find the charm of Main Street quaint, because it is, evoking the past in conjunction with the future that is the college. So it seems that, if we want to keep it, the town needs us to buy there.
In the face of an economic downturn, both the students and the college should step up and embrace all that Geneseo and the surrounding area has to offer, commercially and socially. It is, after all, only in our best interest.