Our View

DKS Editors

Engage us, please?

Last week, Main Street Continental Grill ran an ad in the Stater for a “Welcome Back” party. Free sandwiches, cornhole, music, prizes and other giveaways were advertised as a potential way to lure people into the establishment.

But there was one catch: “Bring your student ID because this party is only for the students.”

Guess what? It was a success.

Many have wondered what Kent would be like without the students. Surely, there would be 22,000 fewer people eating at the city’s restaurants and stores.

So let’s face it. It’s time to engage us.

The Continental Grill took the first step in securing its student clientele with a few giveaways, and it’s time for some other businesses and our city to do the same. We’re more than a group of pizza-eating, beer-guzzling robots.

Of course, we’re not just asking for free stuff (although it is appealing). We’re asking that you engage us. The city and its businesses need to go beyond the Stars and Streetlights event that takes place during Friday of Week of Welcome where businesses stay open late to introduce themselves to incoming freshman. That’s one day out of 365 to involve us.

Unsure what students want to see from your business? Well, just ask us. The only way students are going to spend money is if we know what you have to offer. And if you don’t have what we want, don’t complain that we do little more than window shop. Next time a student strolls into your shop or restaurant, ask him or her a few questions. You might learn a lot in a 30-second conversation.

The city needs to do the same. There needs to be a heavy-handed effort to gauge what students want. Perhaps it’s time the city partners with the university to produce a mass survey that’s actually visible on campus.

Passing out fliers isn’t going to cut it.

And if you’re a student reading this editorial who’s nodding in agreement, take the next step. Tell the city’s officials what you’d like to see. Each member of council, the mayor and the city manager all have contact information on the city’s Web site at www.kentohio.org.

It’s true a few businesses and city residents might be bothered by our presence. Sure, students can be a bit rowdier than townies. But let’s face it, it’s time you realize we’re here to stay.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board whose members are listed to the left.