ESU Buzz with President Dr. Michael Shonrock and Mayor Bobbi Mlynar.

By Chuck Samples/KVOE News
Posted Jan. 24, 2013

Emporia State and Emporia civic leaders spent some time downtown Thursday.

It was part of a walkabout designed as a small way to bring campus and community together. On Thursday’s ESU Buzz with President Dr. Michael Shonrock, Dr. Shonrock said it was important for the university to thank the business community for welcoming students and its ongoing relationship with ESU.

“This is a wonderful community, and the relationship between is so important. We know the entire community and certainly the downtown is very visible to campus, and we just want to say ‘thank you’ and find ways we can continue to build those relationships,” Shonrock said.

This also comes on the heels of discussion at the City Commission meeting Wednesday to form a Black and Gold district downtown and results released -- also Wednesday -- from a student research project detailing student expectations for goods, services and entertainment options downtown. Mayor Bobbi Mlynar said the new district would be student-focused, and it only enhances the partnership between city and university.

“We do realize Emporia State University provides so many essentials to us and they are such an asset,” she said.

Shonrock said the student survey indicates some positives right off the bat. Students say merchant friendliness is high, and they also give high marks to the quality of products available and customer service.

“That relationship is so important because, as you know, any business, when you smile, you’re coming in, that makes a difference and turns you to coming back,” he said.

However, students say limited business and transportation hours and perceived high prices need improvement, and they say networking between merchants and students can improve significantly.

Mlynar says the student input is invaluable as the city looks to grow.

“We have thousands of people in that community. If we don’t have something to hold them here in the evenings and weekends, and if they go out of town, our businesses lose. But we also lose that opportunity to make that link between the community and the campus,” she said.

“We do appreciate having the students and staff and professors on campus, and we want them to become involved in our community. I think we will all be enriched by that,” Mlynar added