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SU’s ‘Project KEEP US’ to release findings on college students staying in or leaving CNY
SU’s ‘Project KEEP US’ to release findings on college students staying in or leaving CNYDecember 03, 2004Amy Schmitzaemehrin@syr.edu
Syracuse University’s Project KEEP US (Knowledge Enabling Efforts to Preserve University Students) is a research endeavor of students in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications public relations department, which is studying students attending colleges and universities in the 12-county Central New York area to evaluate their plans on staying or leaving after graduation. The study also seeks to outline factors in students’ decisions to stay or go.
According to Jean Vincent, adjunct professor of public relations research at the Newhouse School and president of Vincent McCabe, Inc., the students’ research initiative has the potential to impact the larger CNY community.
“Politicians, community leaders and organizational consultants have commented in the press about the need to keep students who graduate from local colleges in the area,” Vincent said. “Therefore, the overall goal for the class research project is to add to the knowledge base to improve leaders’ decision-making when it comes to retaining area college graduates.” The research study findings will be publicly announced at a press conference, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. in the Bartlett Room of Newhouse II.
“In conducting initial research to define the project, we did not find any effort to directly and broadly survey students at area colleges regarding their intendedplans to stay or leave the area after graduation, or determine what factors contribute to their decision-making process,” says Brenda Dow, vice president of client services at Vincent McCabe, Inc., and the students’ client contact. “Our hope is the students’ research findings will be useful to economic development entities and other groups seeking to have more college students settle here, by bringing the voice of the student to the fore via this class project.”
Students completed the full-scale research project over 15 weeks. In late October, the students formed teams to competitively present recommendations for how to best meet the research goal. After the winning research plan was selected, it was modified to incorporate strong ideas presented by other teams. The students then collectively developed their research instruments and began collecting data in mid-November. Vincent McCabe Inc. sponsored the project with in-kind services and other support provided by the marketing intelligence firm.
Project KEEP US is an example of what can be accomplished through educational and business partnerships. “This is one class of 19 students partnering with a small business that thinks and acts big, working together and sharing technology and knowledge on a small scale to achieve big things,” Vincent says. “The students’ research findings could potentially be the definitive study of area college students by area college students regarding this topic.”
The study was tailored to the Essential New York Initiative report findings issued in February 2004 by the Metropolitan Development Association (MDA) of Syracuse and Central New York, Inc. The 12-county area encompasses Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Seneca, St. Lawrence and Tompkins counties.
“We’re excited about the possibilities this project offers to the students, Syracuse University and the community at large,” Vincent said. “We look forward to its unfolding development and how the information can be used by organizations throughout the 12-county area.”