Despite downturn, Amherst College sees summer program revenues increase

AMHERST, Mass. – In a bid to boost their bottom lines, colleges have always worked hard to host camps, enrichment courses and other programs to keep their campuses busy during the summer months, when most students are away.

While some colleges have seen declines in summer program enrollments, Amherst College has seen its 2011 summer revenues increase to about $1.6 million, from $1.3 million two years ago.

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“I was concerned that things would decline during the past couple of years,” said James Brassord, director of facilities and associate treasurer at Amherst, “but I’m very pleased that our aggressive marketing efforts have resulted in increased revenue for this year.”

The plethora of programs that Amherst College is hosting this summer features offerings for all ages. They include Nike-sponsored tennis camps for youth and adults; a popular Great Books camp that Amherst Professor Ilan Stavans co-founded 10 years ago with a Connecticut entrepreneur when both were looking for non-sports camps for their children; and a National Ultimate Training Camp that draws disc-tossers from across the country.

“Recognizing the economic climate, we’ve marketed ourselves more aggressively in recent years,” Brassord said, adding that the college is selective about whom it markets itself to, preferring a mix of programs that emphasize academic access and athletic achievement.

According to Brassord, the overall goal is twofold: keep revenue flowing through the summer months, and make the best use of the college’s physical and human-resource assets during the summer. Summer programs are important to the college’s bottom line not only because of the revenue they generate, which helps to  fund the college’s core academic mission during the school year, but also because they provide summer employment opportunities for staff, such as custodians and dining hall workers, and  help to keep college buildings and grounds operating.

Among the selling points for Amherst College, Brassord lists its well-maintained buildings and grounds, bucolic New England location with sweeping views of the Holyoke mountain range, the culturally stimulating Pioneer Valley region, great food and a safe and secure environment for parents to send their kids.

Brassord said his staff has worked hard to make summer program numbers increase by being more flexible: “We work very closely with our customers to accommodate their specific program needs.”

For more information, contact Peter Rooney, director of public affairs, at 413-542-8452 or prooney@amherst.edu, or Irene W. Berwick, summer programs coordinator, at 413-542-8102 or iwberwick@amherst.edu.

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Contact

Peter Rooney
Director of Public Affairs
(413) 542-2321
prooney@amherst.edu