DBIA/Trent Partnership Encourages Students to Shop Downtown

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DBIA executive director Terry Guiel swipes Trent President Leo Groarke's Trent U Card. Photo from Trentu.ca
DBIA executive director Terry Guiel swipes Trent president Leo Groarke’s Trent U Card. Photo courtesy of Trentu.ca.

As a Trent University alumnus — and a guy who does communications projects for Trent’s Alumni Affairs — I’m incredibly excited about a new program allowing Trent University students, faculty, and staff to use their “Trent U Cards” to purchase food and drink at several downtown establishments, including Black Honey, Natas Café, and The Whistle Stop.

A big part of Farm to Table’s efforts in promoting the downtown core has been aimed at the Trent community.  And why not?  The university represents a huge portion of the economic activity in Peterborough.

How much so?

According to the brand new 2015 Trent University Report to the Community, Trent represents 7.7 percent of Peterborough’s Gross Domestic Product.  The university contributes $387 million to the local economy, with student spending contributing $170 million.  It should be noted that Trent alumni contribute a further $620 million to the Peterborough economy.

If we want to build a sustainable downtown core, we need to ensure that Trent community members continue to shop and dine downtown in ever-increasing numbers.

And this is precisely what this new partnership is attempting to foster.

From a Trent University news feed story:

Trent University and the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) today announced an exciting new partnership that will see the expansion of the Trent University student card (TrentU Card) program, allowing students to use their card at several off-campus merchants, including Black Honey, Natas Café, and The Whistle Stop.

“This is an important step forward in our attempt to connect our students with Peterborough’s downtown,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor at Trent University. “We’re keen to offer more options to our students with the support of the DBIA. With the DBIA, we are interested in working with downtown partners to encourage students to take advantage of the restaurants, businesses, and cultural activities in the City’s downtown core.”

As of today, students, staff and faculty will have the ability to load money onto their TrentU Card and use their card to make purchases at Black Honey, Natas Café, and The Whistle Stop, the top three merchants, which were selected by Trent students in a survey conducted in the spring of 2014. Window decals have been placed in each of the three businesses, announcing to the Trent community they now accept the TrentU Card.

“Trent is a vital part of the health and vibrancy of the downtown. This new initiative demonstrates Trent’s desire to continue to be connected with the core. A vibrant downtown is of critical interest to draw students. This unique program will be most welcome in the downtown and has the potential for immense economic and cultural spin-offs,” said Terry Guiel, executive director of the DBIA. “The DBIA is extremely excited to see the full potential of this initiative and what it could grow into.”

Click here for the full story.

Congratulations to the Peterborough DBIA and Trent for forging this partnership.  It is a wonderful continuation of the “town and gown” tradition that has linked Trent and the community that houses it.

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Farm to Table and Trent:

Earlier this year, Farm to Table announced that we will be rolling out mentorship opportunities for Trent students.  This spring, we brought on our first sustainable agriculture student.  We also look forward to working closely with the Trent Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems program in order to promote local and seasonal produce.

Farm to Table’s Donald Fraser has worked closely with The Seasoned Spoon and Trent Vegetable Gardens in the past.  He has featured Trent food programs and projects on CHEX Television segments, Peterborough Examiner columns, Peterborough This Week columns, and in online publications.  Fellow Farm to Table’er, Krista Campbell Fraser has an Trent MSc. in Environmental and Life Sciences, having presented a successful thesis on the effects of ozone on local crops. She was introduced to large-scale food growing as one of the first rooftop growers/researchers of Trent University’s rooftop garden.

Trent students, faculty, and staff have enjoyed our culinary tours since they began four years ago — they are often among the most engaged and engaging of participants.

Farm to Table will continue to attract Trent community members to explore the downtown core by offering discounted rates to students.  Student tickets for this year’s tours will be $25 — a savings of almost 30% on the regular $35 ticket price.