Palos Heights’ first-ever public campaign to welcome Trinity Christian College students back to campus continued this week with the announcement that nearly four dozen local businesses have agreed to offer discounts on goods and services.
Trinity students and faculty who present school IDs will receive a head-to-toe range of discounts offered by hair/nail salons, shoe and clothing stores, ice cream parlors, candy stores, restaurants, florists, jewelers, gift shops, paint and hardware stores, auto service shops and more.
“This effort is exceeding all expectations,” said Rick Powell, a member of the city’s Business/Economic Advisory Committee, which is spearheading the campaign. “It’s fabulous, and based on the buzz that has been created, it’s already a success.”
“We want all Trinity students — and their parents — to be fully aware of all the great shopping and dining options we have right here,” added Powell, who lives just two blocks from campus with his wife, Patti, an associate professor of education at the college.
“Our goals are to make the students feel welcome in Palos Heights, to convince our local business community to offer discounts and extend a hand of friendship, and strengthen our ties with the college,” he continued.
The upbeat “welcome back” effort has taken on the trappings of a political campaign to a degree, with more than 150 blue and white lawn signs dotting parkways on major streets.
“It’s cool. It’s such a wonderful thing to see,” Trinity President Steven Timmermans said of the cheerful signs. “We have always had good channels of communication [with Palos Heights and the local business community]. The attitude has always been there, but this is a first. It’s good to see it visually.”
A number of Trinity students — such as athletes — have already returned to campus, but the majority that includes freshmen and transfer students here for the first time will be arriving tomorrow.
Those students, Timmermans added, are typically unfamiliar with the area and hail from other parts of Illinois and such places as Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and California. “We’re a national draw,” he noted about the liberal arts college that has an enrollment of about 1,400 engaged in dozens of programs of study and which in 2010 was ranked as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.
Making those new students feel welcome is doubly important, he observed.
Committee officials will staff a hospitality tent at Trinity’s Welcome Back event, set for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow, offering refreshments, introducing themselves to students, parents and faculty and encouraging them to discover Palos Heights’ business community.
A list of local businesses offering special discounts to Trinity students and staff can be found at palosheights.org. The discounts are generally good for 30 days, although some businesses may choose to extend or revise the offers after that.
Beyond the students, the “welcome back” campaign is good for the morale of the entire community, said committee member Jeff Key at a meeting Monday. “It’s fun to think of Palos Heights as a college town,” he observed, “It’s a homey feeling. It feels good.”