When students return to Lander University in the fall, the population of Greenwood swells by 3,000, driving retail sales and supplying a valuable source of part-time employees. The large number of businesses taking part in this year’s CommUniversity event shows that area merchants are taking notice.
“We’re looking for a part-time sales associate, someone who can open the store, close the store in the evenings. We’re also looking for young ladies who are interested in modeling for our fashion events that we hold throughout the year,” said Amanda Johnson, manager of Two Timers Consignment shop.
Johnson, who was attending her first CommUniversity, said she was also trying to interest students in consigning with her, which she called “a great way to earn money.”
Tina Glover, one of two owner/operators of Papa John’s Pizza in Greenwood, brought 60 pizzas with her to share with students. She said there have been years when she gave away as many as a hundred.
“We come every year,” she said. “It’s a great way to get out in the community, but even more importantly, we get to see the new students and the returning students. We always look for employees when we’re here, and give everybody a chance to try our pizza.”
Greenwood’s Hampton Inn is another regular at CommUniversity. Assistant General Manager Noah Woodyard said he was having a drawing for a free night at Hampton Inn, giving away treats, such as pastries, and signing people up for Hilton Honors, the hotel chain’s loyalty program. Woodyard also had an eye out for part-time workers.
“A lot of our employees are former Lander students or current Lander students,” said Woodyard, who graduated from Lander himself.
Stephen Harrington, general manager of Sports Break, had coupons and koozies for students who stopped by his table. He said he was “looking for a few hostesses, about five or six waitresses and some cooks. I usually pick up one or two employees from this event every year,” he said.
The 66 participants in this year’s event, sponsored by Lander’s offices of Student Activities and Career Services, also included several area churches and community service groups such as United Way, Cornerstone and Meg’s house.
Hope Kalbach, volunteer coordinator for Greenwood Humane Society, said she had been sharing information about the Humane Society’s programs and trying to recruit volunteers.
“We wouldn’t be able to do any of the things we do without volunteers. They help us in absolutely every aspect of what we do, from cleaning in the mornings to helping out with adoption events, to walking the dogs, socializing the cats, and going around the community and spreading the word about the things that we need,” she said.
CommUniversity also exists to acquaint students with the many organizations on campus that they may be interested in joining. Several sororities, Campus Recreation, Lander’s Alumni Association and Student Nurses Association were among those in attendance at this year’s event.
Political Science major Jake Powell, of Greer, who serves as vice president of Lander’s Student Government Association, said the SGA was present because it wants students to “see us on campus.” He said that the SGA “really strives to represent the student body. We’re here today kind of letting people know who we are,” he said.
“Just being visible” is one of the reasons that participants most often cite for taking part in the event, according to Demario Watts, director of Student Activities. Watts called this year’s CommUniversity “a great success, a great mixture of people.”