Event welcomes students to Barton

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Barton College will celebrate the return of students, faculty and staff by partnering with the Wilson Chamber of Commerce to host Welcome Back Barton on Aug. 19. The annual event invites the Wilson business and nonprofit communities to introduce themselves to the Barton campus and familiarizes the campus community with goods and services available in Wilson.

“We want the campus community — particularly freshman and those new to Barton — to be familiar with the goods and services available right here in Wilson,” said Ryan Simons, president of the Wilson Chamber of Commerce. “However, from the chamber perspective, we also want our businesses familiar with the fact that the students, faculty and staff at Barton represent a critical mass of potential customers, volunteers, employees, and advocates that they need to build relationships with.”

Every year Welcome Back Barton attracts more than 75 area businesses and nonprofit organizations that rely on the economic stimulus of having students back on the Barton College campus. Restaurants, personal services, volunteer organizations and churches are just a few of the types of organizations that gather on campus to orient students with the unique opportunities available in Wilson.

Welcome Back Barton is a free event open only to students, faculty and staff of Barton.

Members of the Wilson Chamber of Commerce can register to be a vendor at the event at no cost. For-profit businesses that are not members of the chamber can register to be a vendor for $100. Nonprofit organizations that are not members of the chamber can register to be a vendor for $50.

All vendors are encouraged to supply marketing materials for distribution. If vendors are hiring, they are asked to bring applications or job descriptions to the event.

The deadline for vendor registration is Friday, Aug. 9. Call Asia Robinson, Wilson Chamber of Commerce marketing and events manager, at 252-237-0165 to register.

“The feedback we’ve received from campus and our members has been overwhelmingly positive,” Simons said. “Not only is this a great way to generate commerce, but I think it is also a welcome diversion during the first week of classes, to ease some of the stress and anxiety associated with it, but also to let the students know that there is a whole community that is standing beside them during their time at Barton.”

Simons said the contributions to the Wilson community by the Barton student body are immeasurable.

“It’s not just that they represent a well-trained workforce pipeline, or that they are consumers of goods and services in our community, or even that they provide countless hours of volunteer service. It’s also the youthful vitality and diversity found on campus that adds to Wilson’s quality of life,” he said.

“When you add those things to a college administration with a demonstrated interest in seeing our community prosper and a talented faculty whose expertise benefits more than just the students they teach, the town-gown relationship has blossomed into one of the most important elements for moving Wilson forward.”