Unique Partnership Aims to Bring CWU Students Downtown - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Unique Partnership Aims to Bring CWU Students Downtown

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ELLENSBURG, WA.--It's been a couple years in the making, but Ellensburg businesses and college students are officially ready to start working together.

About a year ago, 1,000 students filled out surveys that asked them how they felt about the downtown area. The results are in, and Central's students and staff said there's still a divide between Central Washington University and the Ellensburg community.

"There's that fact that the students think that there isn't anything there for them so they go online," said CWU Senior Ann Reynolds. "They're going to order from your mall stores that are online. They're not going to think to come downtown to the stores that are here."

"From being a local I understand how relationships work in this local area, and understanding how important it is to bring the college students down to the downtown areas," said Hailey Nelsen, a CWU Senior.

A group on campus called Central Communication Agency and the Ellensburg Downtown Association are working together to help local businesses market to students.

"An add in the phone book isn't quite what it used to be years ago," said Carolyn Honeycutt, the Director of Ellensburg Downtown Association. "It's more about social media."

"We did some research and we found that students in college, so graduates and undergraduates, 98 percent use Facebook," said Reynolds. "So if 98 percent of students are using Facebook that should be your number one reason to be on Facebook because that's where they are."

That's one of the main findings behind this partnership. The Downtown Business Association said many local stores don't have a social media presence and students want to help. They're holding a free seminar on Tuesday in Ellensburg and created a 30 page book on social media strategies.

From both the business and campus perspectives, they'd like to see Ellensburg get an economic boost because it's a community they're all a part of and only want to see it thrive.

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