The aspect of community is one of three elements in the university’s mission statement that President Dr. David King is emphasizing throughout his inauguration. A way students can get involved in the Canton community is by spending money in locally owned and operated establishments.
Approximately $68 of every $100 spent at locally owned and operated businesses in Canton is returned to the community through employee salaries and taxes, while only about $43 are returned if spent at nationally owned businesses in the city.
For members of the Malone community, this means that the majority of the money spent at national chains located in Canton does not come back to support the city’s economy. Spending at Westfield Belden Village and The Strip, though convenient, benefits Jackson Township, not Canton.
When freshman computer science student Mark Butler chooses where to shop or eat, he typically does not decide based on local or nonlocal ownership. He is, however, interested in the challenge to spend locally.
“I could try to [spend locally] just because I’d like to see my community grow,” Butler said.
Butler said he thinks the four years students spend in Canton are a significant amount of time to become aware of local businesses.
Senior music education major Rebecca Bankert sees both sides of the issue as a Malone student and Canton native.
Bankert explained that she knows the challenges of spending money locally. Though the convenience of large chains like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and Starbucks add to the difficulties, Bankert would like to encourage her fellow students to try to support the community.
“I think it’s good for people to give back to Canton, because we live here for four years,” Bankert said.
[pullquote]“Everybody spends money and so [we are] asking people to think about what they spend and then make a pledge to spend money in locally owned and operated places in Canton,” Everett said[/pullquote]Her long-term residence in the city offers Bankert a unique perspective in the conversation about the local economy.
“Since I grew up here, it’s great to have support from college students who are only here for four years,” Bankert said, “and I’ll see the effects of it even after these students are gone.”
A professor of communication arts and the director of The College Experience Marcia Everett is leading a pledge program for local spending with the first year GEN 100 class. Over 400 people are participating, including first year students, course assistants, and faculty members.
“Everybody spends money and so [we are] asking people to think about what they spend and then make a pledge to spend money in locally owned and operated places in Canton,” Everett said.
Everett explained that this program is not a competition between College Experience sections. The point, she said, is not how much money you spend, but how you spend it.
In her two College Experience sections, Everett introduced the pledge program with Alissa Wilkinson article, “Making the Most of College: The Off-Campus Investment.” This reading suggests that students pick a spot, worship, and serve in the local community.
According to Everett, the students in her classes were excited to see what Canton has to offer. This program also seeks to promote community, as students are encouraged to explore the city with their classmates.
Everett has a supply of information booklets available that include lists of locally owned and operated restaurants, discount stores, entertainment options, and more.
“If anybody else or if any other groups would like to be a part of it, we’d be happy to give them pledge cards,” Everett said.
The city of Canton has much to offer for those who are willing to explore.
For casual dining, students can visit Bender’s Tavern, Lucca Downtown, Basil Asian Bistro, and El Campesino Mexican Restaurant. Carpe Diem and Muggswigz Coffee & Tea Co. have hot drinks to offer and Heggy’s Candy and Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant are places to find sweet treats.
With some research, shopping locally can be a simple way for students to learn about and support the larger Canton community.
Kim Farkas is a staff writer for The Aviso AVW.