The University of Scranton campus just got a little bit bigger.
The Office of Community Relations has announced a pilot program to expand the use of the Royal Card by students, faculty and staff for purchases at vendors in downtown Scranton. Royal Card holders have already had the option of spending funds on their Royal accounts at several area merchants, including Alexander’s Salon and Spa. As of Feb. 26, the program has expanded to include Lavish Body & Home, The Mall at Steamtown, Marquee Cinemas, and Northern Light Espresso Bar.
According to Julie Schumacher Cohen, director of community & government relations, the program is as “an extension of the University’s downtown outreach effort.”
Cohen said it will benefit the University as well as downtown businesses by helping students “to feel that their campus is broader, that Downtown Scranton is part of their world” and by giving merchants another way to attract customers from the University community. In addition, the expanded program aims to keep The University of Scranton in step with similar offerings at other colleges. Cohen said incoming students are looking for the convenience associated with using a single card to make most purchases, on campus or off. The pilot is limited to select businesses and will allow the University to understand student interests better and evaluate the logistics of the program, which are managed by the University's Royal Card Office.
The Mall at Steamtown, with more than 50 stores just a few blocks from campus, provides convenience and variety to students needing new clothes, shoes or a smartphone repair. John Topa, director of marketing and specialty leasing at The Mall at Steamtown, said the program is a welcome addition to the Mall’s service offerings.
“We felt that if we partnered with the University on this, it would allow students to get whatever they needed conveniently,” said Topa.
Students will be able to use their Royal Cards to buy Mall gift cards, good for one year, which can be used “on that trip, or next month, or when students come back in the fall,” said Topa. The Mall gift cards can also be used at Marquee Cinemas across the street.
In addition to using the Royal Card for purchases at select locations, students can use the card to receive a 10% discount at more than 40 downtown Scranton businesses, including clothing boutiques, a frozen yogurt shop, yoga studios and various eateries.
Community partners have aided these efforts. The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce assisted with outreach for the new purchasing pilot program and the 10% student discount is available through Scranton Tomorrow’s “Show it, Save it” program, which also applies to students from other colleges.