Microsoft Windows Road Show Hits College Campuses

Microsoft Windows Takes the Road

With three successful road shows already under our belts, Microsoft is bringing their Windows Roadshow event featuring the new Windows 8.1 Operating System to more BNC campuses across the country. Event staff is educating students and faculty about the product’s features and many exciting things that are possible when using Windows 8.1.  Microsoft will be conducting product demos at nine of our Barnes & Noble College bookstores for up to three weeks at each campus, giving our students plenty of time to speak with the Microsoft experts and enjoy a hands-on trial with the software. Microsoft Windows is incorporating live demos and a prize spinning wheel into these experiential events, leveraging BNCM’s capabilities as a strategic marketing partner to create an interactive and engaging environment for Millennials.

Microsoft College Marketing

Building a Social Connection

In its ongoing communications with customers, Barnes & Noble College employs a full arsenal of social resources and channels, much of it dictated by the nature of its customer base. “Today’s millennial students live very much in the social realm,” says Barnes & Noble College’s Consumer & New Media Marketing Manager Tamara Vostok. “It’s where they live — it’s what they’re familiar with.” For that reason, social media has become much more than just another sales or public relations tool. It is a way to power a deeper customer connection.

Connectivity With Real World Application

One of the biggest challenges facing social media marketers is how to bridge the gap between digital engagement and real-world experience. “Our students are very much aware of what’s going on in the world around them,” says Sandra Webb, Social Media Coordinator for Barnes & Noble College. “They’re incredibly timely and in tune with current events happening at any particular time.”

What is being shared on social platforms, and how it is being shared, is key to communicating with students. Content launched on social media platforms can take on a power of its own, as quickly shared and discussed, decoding that interest is vital for any brand wanting to maintain relevance in the digital age. With almost 800,000 Facebook fans, Barnes & Noble College’s social presence is rapidly growing as the company constantly fine-tunes its message across various platforms. A sweepstakes over Thanksgiving delivered 13,000 new fans in one day, while a “WINter Wonderland” promotion added 15,000 additional fans.

Recently, Barnes & Noble College participated in Act! Speak! Build! Week with a social program launched to support partner Habitat for Humanity International. The program focuses on educating others about the importance of Habitat for Humanity’s mission – letting people know it’s not just about raising a hammer, but about raising awareness and raising funds. For every like, comment and share posted to the company Facebook page, Barnes & Noble College provided a $1 donation to Habitat, with a program target of $25,000, in a social initiative that both promoted substantial fundraising and encouraged social activism.

The Human Element

As valuable a tool as social media platforms can be, it’s the human element in social communication that counts, and part of the efficiency of any social message is the ability to bring it back to the real world. Webb dismisses the idea that an increasing reliance on social media makes us any less communal. “Our students use social media as another way to connect. They’re around each other all the time and social media is just another way of sharing their experiences.” Vostok couldn’t agree more. “We use every available touch point — from email marketing to Pinterest — to reach a diverse audience, including faculty, alumni, and the wider campus community.”

Millennial Marketing

Thoughts from BNCM’s Millennial Marketing In-Residence, Chelsea Fives

 

Millennial Marketing and the Positive Impact of Cause Marketing on Millennial Spending

Millennial marketing is powerful and companies are constantly strategizing ways to entice Millennials to buy their products. Many of them have a hard time understanding what drives us to actually go to the register, open our wallets and make a purchase.   How can a company make their product the one that stands out for the generation that is constantly being bombarded by ads in print, email and social media? Millennial marketing studies have shown that the way to our wallets isn’t through fancy packaging or marketing, it’s through our hearts.  Since millennials are one of the most socially conscious generations, companies that donate part of our purchase to charities in need is something that resonates with our values.   During our young lives, we have witnessed the effects of economic recession, poverty, global warming, and natural disasters on our families, our communities, our country and our world.  Our generation realizes that our society needs help and we feel responsible to improve it in any way we can. Any companies that we feel are contributing to the global good will definitely attract our attention, if not our dollars and customer loyalty, as well.

Barnes & Noble College asked students how they feel about companies that contribute to social and charitable causes. The findings weren’t surprising – 70% of students are more inclined to purchase a product if it is linked to a charitable cause.  Millennials want to be a part of the change, and even though our finances may be limited, we want to do our part. Furthermore, we found that 63% of students are willing to spend more money on a product if it relates to a charitable cause. Despite the constant struggle to pay off loans and the pressure to move out of our parent’s house, we will spend our money on a product if it can help someone in need at the same time. The smartest move a company can make today is to get their millennial marketing campaign aligned with some kind of social cause or charitable organization.

To illustrate ways that companies have partnered with BNCM using millennial marketing, here are some examples of successful in-store programs. After receiving the survey responses, Barnes & Noble College took the initiative to highlight our in-store brands that are aligned with creating a better world. You may have seen our “&” sign above specific products in our store for our “Shop & Inspire” campaign. This sign indicates which brands in the stores are associated with great causes. While some of our brands help their workers in other countries through education and healthcare, others donate a percentage of their proceeds to a specific cause. One brand in particular we work with is Alta Gracia Apparel, which is the first-ever apparel factory in the developing world to pay a living wage to their employees. Barnes & Noble College also works with League 91 who focuses on providing workers with meals, an in-house daycare program, paying above minimum wage, and many more opportunities. Students have the opportunity to visit their store’s website and read more about these brands and how they are positively affecting the community.

Another way to incorporate charities and social causes into your brand is through your social media campaigns. During National Student Day, we partnered with Habitat for Humanity International and started a hashtag campaign. For every photo posted of students volunteering with hash tag #StudentsDoingGood, Barnes & Noble College donated $1 to Habitat for Humanity. For Breast Cancer Awareness month, we posted a new awareness photo weekly that earned a $1 donation to the Young Survival Coalition, with each like and comment.

Millennials love feeling like we are able to help make a difference in our world, even if it is on a small scale.  Inspire us to participate in your cause, and allow us to give our financial support for brands that have a greater goal than financial profit.  Not only will you help people in need, and contribute to a building a better world, but you will win our trust and loyalty for years to come.

What’s Cooking at the College Bookstore?

Where do you go when your school-supply requirements include a table crumber, a pastry cutter, and a meat thermometer? If you’re a student at the Culinary Institute of America(CIA) or Niagara Falls Culinary Institute (NFCI), you head straight to the campus bookstore.

Five Star Supplies

The CIA’s Craig Claiborne Bookstore, which has been managed by Barnes & Noble College since 1989, and the Barnes & Noble at Niagara Falls Culinary Institute bookstore, both cater to students whose classes range from introduction to gastronomy and beverage management to modern banquet cookery and baking theory. Those not-so-typical college courses require a bookstore that can specialize in the unique needs of aspiring chefs. Textbooks, notebooks and calculators are still essential, but the emphasis at these schools is on craft. When providing the tools future five-star chefs need to hone their trade, it’s crucial to ensure the bookstore is as well stocked as any top-rated restaurant.

The CIA provides incoming students with required books on the day they arrive, so those venturing into its bookstore “are coming in for fun stuff like uniforms, school apparel, culinary equipment and gadgets, and other items they need for class,” explains Store Manager Christina Ringel. Because students are required to wear chef’s whites in the kitchen, they often scour the aisles for checkered black and white pants, crisp white chef’s jackets and hats, neckties, or school-sanctioned side towels. “It’s always great to see how excited the first-year students are when they pick out their very first chef’s whites,” she says.

Cooking From A To Z

The Craig Claiborne Bookstore offers a voluminous array of books on practically anything that has to do with food and its planning, preparation and cooking. The shelves and shelves of books include a wide variety of cuisines – from Italian to Indian, professional guides on how to develop a menu or run a kitchen, specialty baking, healthy cooking – that includes such topics as gluten-free recipes to ideas on what to eat while undergoing chemotherapy, and books written by faculty and alumni. “If you want to make it, we’ve got a book on it,” Ringel proudly states. “And, on the off chance that we don’t have it, we can get it for you.”

Cooking Up Interest In The Bookstore

With the recently constructed NFCI campus and bookstore, Store Manager Dawn Everett had the unique opportunity to see it all come together from soup to nuts. “When I got here, the drywall wasn’t even in place,” says Everett, who has been employed with Barnes & Noble College for 12 years, most recently as a community relations manager. Coming from the retail side, she was excited not only by the top-quality design and construction, but by the space’s distinctive branding. “You know you’re walking into a Barnes & Noble as soon as you enter the store – and our customers really like that.”

Perhaps one of the favorite areas of the NFCI bookstore is the full, working demo kitchen, where student cooking “labs” are complemented by PowerPoint presentations on a sprawling 70-inch screen overhead. Three days a week, students prepare a variety of enticing dishes and offer plenty of delicious samples to hungry customers in the store. Everett, who knows the importance of connecting with the local community, shares the demonstration schedule with area Rotary Clubs, book and church groups, and the local Chamber of Commerce, to bring local residents into the store.

“All of the tools that our students use in their labs are available for purchase in the store,” Everett says, adding that it’s a great way to stir up excitement about store merchandise and introduce customers to cooking utensils they may never have used before.

Giving Back And Offering Support

A variety of events also offer a menu of unique opportunities for these specialty bookstores. At the biennial Bocuse d’Or USA — the culinary equivalent of the Olympic Games — the Craig Claiborne Bookstore sets up an off-site shop in the CIA’s Student Recreation Center, complete with its own book signings, T-shirts sales and special guests. When world-famous chefs Daniel Boulud or Jean-Georges Vongerichten stop by, Ringel knows to make room for a full house.

“I’m always amazed at how interested these chefs are to speak with our students,” she says. “You might expect world-renowned chefs with five-star Michelin restaurants and best-selling cookbooks to not have time for our students, but that hasn’t been the case. They’re very supportive and always take the time to answer their questions and pass on knowledge they have learned over the years. Our students really appreciate that one-on-one opportunity to learn from the best.”

And that student support also extends to the campus bookstore. Ringel recalls one recent culinary inquiry that gave her pause: A customer came into the bookstore requesting a knife to cut, of all things, whale blubber. “At this point, I’ve heard just about every crazy question there is when it comes to the culinary arts,” she says. “And while we didn’t carry a knife specifically for that purpose, we were able to find her one that looked very similar and could do the job. Ultimately, our goal is to support our students — even if it involves whale blubber,” she adds with a laugh.

The Difference is Service

When Michelle Baier was inspired to run her first-ever race in honor of Boston Marathon bombing victim and grad student, Lingzi Lu, she realized she was missing something important. After months of training and preparation, as race day approached, Baier wanted a Boston University t-shirt to wear for the event. When Steve Turco, General Manager of the Barnes & Noble at Boston University bookstore heard of the urgent request, he quickly located a shirt, and over-nighted it to Michelle, who received it in time to wear it proudly for her run.

Experiences like Baier’s might seem almost quaint to a generation of shoppers more used to uneven customer service, cavernous stores seemingly absent of assistance, exhaustive checkout lines or, alternatively, to the uninviting anonymity of shopping online. Yet, ensuring the service promise Barnes & Noble College makes to its customers falls to extraordinary Next Generation Leaders, and how they became that way is hardly accidental.

Wow! And More

Great customer service starts with the right people, and as Director of Learning and Development Pamela Bonnell points out, Barnes & Noble College has a knack of seeking out individuals with the right kind of potential. “It very much comes from decisions in our hiring,” she says. “We look for people who are passionate about Barnes & Noble College and who we are, and will routinely go above and beyond.” Once hired, that potential is cultivated through a wide variety of training and support techniques backed by a financial investment some sixty percent higher than the benchmark used by the national training industry.

New booksellers are introduced to the culture and mission of Barnes & Noble College through “The Power of WOW!” — an interactive, self-paced course providing an in-depth explanation and review of customer service standards. “WOW! leadership helps our store managers to continue to lead the WOW! culture of service, and enables them to have those great conversations with our customers,” Bonnell says.

Maintaining that level of service also extends to knowing the store and what’s in it, and the primary tool for teaching this is the on-boarding training initiative based on the company’sRoadmap for Success program. As stores expand, or new product lines are introduced, staff can develop their product knowledge through in-store meetings, self-study, WebEx events and product knowledge cards. “It’s important we support our stores to make sure that everyone understands the product, why it’s important and how they can talk about it to different segments of our customer base,” explains Bonnell.

Above And Beyond

The balance between bookstore staff acting locally and investing their own initiative combines with support from Regional and Home Office staff in a unique service DNA for Barnes & Noble College. It’s a characteristic Lisa Malat, Vice President of Marketing and Store Operations, believes is essential to the company’s success. “The foundation of our company was built on the very firm belief that our store managers need to be empowered, and have the flexibility to do what is right for their campus and for their customers,” she says.

So whether its Point Park University Bookstore Manager William Fabyanic and Assistant Manager Chelsea Blake assisting a professor with an assigned textbook and on-line cartridge required for his course, or Wayne State University Bookstore Manager Jody Young helping a student get his textbooks while waiting for his student financial aid to come through, or Indiana State University bookseller Angel Pitts coordinating the shipment of textbooks for parents with a student returning to college, instances of Next Generation Leadership are plentiful.

On the heels of Barnes & Noble College’s Annual Meeting and Back-to-Campus Show held last month in Orlando, Florida, the spotlight strongly focused on leadership development — and in an event bringing together store managers, regional managers and home office employees, it is certain to shape more Next Generation Leaders with an even greater commitment to customer service.

Why Foreign Language Matters to Millennials

Why Foreign Language Study is a Significant Career Advantage for Millennials

One of the main objectives of every college student is to secure a great job after graduation. There have been scores of articles written on strategies that will help students prepare for this goal during their undergraduate years. In the current economy, pressure is mounting on students to distinguish themselves from the pack, given an increasingly competitive and limited job market.  Therefore, students must ask the question: “What skills are going to make me stand out to a potential employer?”

While a high GPA, attention to detail, strong writing skills and familiarity with technology are some of the most important qualities sought by recruiters, one of the most unique and useful skills to have is foreign language proficiency.  Ironically, only a small percentage of job seekers tap into this strategic niche.

The statistics on the benefits of foreign language study speak louder than words.  If students believe that their mandatory three credit class in Spanish, French, Chinese or Arabic is just a requirement to check off their list or if they plan to skip foreign language classes all together – they should look at the facts.

 

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that, over the next decade, 42% of employers expect the demand for business proficiency in Chinese to be a high priority among recruiters, and 70% of employers anticipate that the demand for language proficiency in Spanish will be a crucial part of their search for employees that can help them meet the needs of their customers.[i]

Studies show that multilingual employees earn an average of $7000.00 more than their monolingual colleagues. In terms of career advancement and promotion potential, 64% of the top executives at large corporations speak more than one language.[ii]

In terms of job potential and career focus, perhaps an obvious career path that relies on strong foreign language skills is translation and interpretation.  Both of these career choices require individuals who have a high level of skill and fluency in a foreign language, and have great attention to detail.  But, there are countless other real world career choices where foreign language skills will set people apart and help them be more successful and effective in their job, whether it is in business, government, medicine, law or non-profit work.

Regardless of which career path is pursued, studying a foreign language can also help with some of the intangible skills that are critical to success in one’s professional, and personal life, including:

-strong analytic skills

-an appreciation for different perspectives

-deep cultural awareness and sensitivity

-improved listening skills

-enhanced communication skills

 

“One language sets you in a corridor for life.  Two languages open every door along the way.”

-Frank Smith

 

We wanted to get the official BNCM  “Beat on the Street” regarding what our Millennial students think about foreign language study, and how they are capitalizing on language learning resources that can help them develop the skills that are in demand in tomorrow’s job market.

 

BNCM interviewed Catherine Lamplugh, a sophomore at Moravian College, to get her insights on foreign language study in college.

 

Which foreign languages are you studying in college and why?

I am currently studying Spanish here at Moravian.  I have enjoyed Spanish classes since the 2nd grade, which is why I decided to pursue it in my undergraduate studies.  Recently, I declared my major as Spanish Education.

 

How do you believe your foreign language study will help you after college?

As a Spanish Education major, I believe that my job prospects for a teaching position after college will be very strong.  America has been changing a lot over the past few decades, and the need for Spanish speaking professionals in schools and in the work place, in general, has been increasing alongside our growing Spanish speaking population.

 

Do you plan to spend any time studying abroad, during your college career?

Yes, definitely.  As a language major, I am required to spend at least one semester abroad.  I am planning to study in Granada, Spain.  I feel that it will be an important part of my curriculum, especially since Spain is the birthplace of the classic Spanish dialect, Castilian.  I think it will provide a great foundation for my future studies, and eventually, for my career.

 

Have you considered securing an internship during college where you can use your foreign language skills?

Yes.  While here at college, I enjoy volunteering in our local schools, and working on various service projects with great organizations like Habitat for Humanity.  In the future, I would like to use my Spanish to work with service projects outside the U.S. in Spanish speaking countries.

 

What is the most effective way that you have learned to study outside of class?

I have found that listening to Spanish music and reading Spanish books and magazines has helped me a great deal in improving my fluency – plus it is fun.  In addition, after seeing a great deal of advertisement and doing some research online, I have recently purchased Rosetta Stone.  I think their program will be a wonderful way for me to practice my Spanish, especially during vacation and summer break, when I am away from classes, so that I can continue to use and improve my language skills.

 

How do you think foreign language skills will set you apart in your future career?

I was not aware of all of the great statistics that you mentioned about future demand for foreign language proficiency by recruiters, or the significant increase in earning potential, but I do believe that foreign language proficiency is a great skill to put on your resume, and a real asset for any company.  Because there is such a huge mix of cultures here in the United States, foreign language study promotes greater cultural sensitivity, and empathy towards non-English speakers, which ultimately helps with improving communication and understanding.

About Catherine

CatherineCatherine is a second year undergraduate student studying Spanish Education at Moravian College. She will be going abroad to Spain in spring of 2015 and is looking forward to it. This semester she will be inducted into Kappa Delta Pi, the National Education Honor Society. She is also a member of the Women’s Soccer Program at the college. In the future she hopes to be a high school Spanish teacher and soccer coach, and spend her summers traveling to different foreign countries and possibly teaching English to Spanish speakers. This is her first year working for Barnes & Noble College Bookstores. In her spare time she loves to go running or hang out with friends and family. She currently cannot put down the book, Divergent by Veronica Roth and she is excited for the movie to come out. One thing she can’t live without is coffee. (She has college to thank for that!)


[i] Light, Joe. “Languages Needed, but No Plans to Learn.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 18 Jan. 2011.

[ii] Williams, Douglas. “4 Reasons Foreign Language Skills May Get You a Job.” USA TODAY College: College News and Information Powered by USA TODAY, 10 Oct. 2013.

Bookstore Spotlight: Barnes & Noble at LSU

Part of what makes Barnes & Noble College Marketing unique is our direct/firsthand access to a network of over 700 on-campus college bookstores, and the store managers who help us execute our programs, in market, and who help us insure exceptional customer service during our marketing programs.

BNCM interviewed bookstore manager, Paul Stevenson, at Store #396, Barnes & Noble at LSU to get some insights on his store, and his experience with our company.

LSU SM 

Bookstore Location:

2 Union Square

Baton Rouge, LA 70803

How many students does the bookstore serve?

We serve over 32,000 students

How many years have you worked with BNC?

I started working for Barnes & Noble in 1996 as a student.  I have worked for all three divisions of our company including Barnes & Noble Inc, B. Dalton Booksellers, and Barnes & Noble College.

What makes your bookstore unique? (merchandise, events, etc?)

We opened our new store in October of 2012.  Our bookstore is unique in size as we are the largest single store location in the company.  In addition to our textbook department and school merchandise areas, we have an event room that can hold up to 90 people. This room can be booked free of charge for campus groups and it has been greatly received here on campus….so much so, that the LSU Office of Enrollment Management ends all prospective student tours, (with numbers reaching over 8,000 people per year), in our event room to showcase both the university and the bookstore. This is a true testament to how Barnes & Noble College works with their university partners by integrating our services into the fabric of the school.

While the size of our store is great, our focus is still how we give the campus community the highest levels of customer service. We enjoy bringing great products and great deals to our students and our customers, throughout the year.

What has been your favorite/most successful marketing program at the bookstore?

One of our most successful and well received programs was a Sony sponsored concert tour featuring Jordan Lawhead. We set up our entire B&N Café for the performance and had a huge turnout for the event.  For me it was a turning point for our marketing programs in the sense that we were able to offer more than the traditional handouts and free samples. This event brought an experience to campus that both Barnes & Noble and LSU could promote to students and to the entire campus community.

In what ways does the bookstore also serve the local community?

In our new location, the bookstore has become more community focused, as our amenities have expanded. We have a children’s area, a tech store, and a large café – all of which provide a total customer experience here in the store.

What is the “best kept secret” about your bookstore?

A replica of the P40 Flying Tiger airplane hovers above the main atrium area with our mascot Mike, the Tiger at the controls. We not only pays homage to one of the most prolific WWII squadrons honoring LSU’s “Ole War Skule” heritage, but the commander of the Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault, is a LSU alumnus.

LSU Airplane

Fun School Facts:

Mike the Tiger is the mascot name.  Mike is a a real live tiger, he lives in a habitat in the back of the stadium. Before home games, he’s placed in a cage near the visiting team’s locker room to intimidate them as they enter the field.

In 1988, during a home game, a crowd of near 80,000 reacted to the game’s final pass loudly enough to register as an earthquake by a seismograph located in LSU’s campus about 1,000 feet from the stadium.

LSU is one of only a handful of universities in the nation having land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant status

Three of LSU’s University Presidents were military generals:

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (1860-61), a Civil War General who was appointed the General of the Army of the United States under President Ulysses S. Grant.

Maj. Gen. Campbell Hodges (1941-44) Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and military adviser to President Herbert Hoover.

Lt. Gen. Troy Middleton (1951-61),  awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for actions in the Meuse-Argonne offensive during World War I and a leader during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

LSU Staff

Mile-High Opportunity at the Colorado School of Mines

Perched on Mount Zion, high above the Colorado School of Mines campus, the school’s ‘M’ logo is illuminated every evening and can be seen from miles away. It’s a fitting symbol to acknowledge the Rocky Mountain State’s mining heritage, and every year during the first week of school, the incoming freshmen class are given a hard hat and an invitation to hike up to the ‘M’ to contribute a ten-pound rock to the formation. In the diverse portfolio of over 700 campus stores Barnes & Noble College operates around the country, the Colorado School of Mines, or simply ‘Mines’ as its popularly referred to, represents another unique campus with its own unique challenges — and the opportunities to provide a very individual way for the campus bookstore to support its customers.

Tops In Engineering And Applied Science

Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, west of Denver and just blocks from the Coors brewery, the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, has the highest admissions standards of any public university in Colorado. Although the school can trace its roots back to 1874, the campus is nothing but forward thinking, as Colorado School of Mines Bookstore Manager Ed Showers points out. “Whenever I meet with freshmen, parents, or speak at orientation groups, I always tell the audience that the students here work very hard — and it’s challenging — but they can also learn anything they need to prepare themselves for a technical career in the real world — and the job placement here is high.”

A public research university devoted to engineering and applied science, with a special emphasis in the development and stewardship of the earth’s natural resources, the school supports 4,200 undergrads and 1,200 graduate students. Supporting those students is just part of the function of the campus bookstore and Showers and his team do just that from what he describes as the ‘smallish bookstore’ Barnes & Noble College has been managing since 1999.

Some Essential & Unique Supplies

With little more than 2,800 square feet, the store generates some impressive revenues and provides the college with over 600 titles and textbooks, trade and school supplies, and a robust clothing business. Colorado School of Mine’s intercollegiate sports teams are known as the Orediggers who compete in the NCAA Division II and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference for all 16 varsity sports in everything from football, wrestling, cross country, soccer, swimming and diving and golf. Mines is also a top ten school in the country for athletics. “It promotes a really strong school spirit here,” Showers says, “and students, alumni and parents are always supportive of the school and the school merchandise,” he adds. Although some alums may head to the Texas mining and oil fields post graduation, Showers has been known to take an order to the post office addressed to a far-flung international engineering location.

Among the store’s small general trade section, there are some surprising products you might not find in a typical college bookstore. “We carry picks and mining equipment, and other lines that are probably unique to us,” Showers admits. Along with items used in geology and the Brunton compasses required for many courses, the store also carries rock hammers, charts and vast quantities of engineering paper as well as chemical, petroleum and mining books. The bookstore also accommodates an Apple Computer store, as well.

A Good Start To A Big World

With its flourishing sports teams, some 170 student campus organizations and its location as home to an annual oil shale symposium, the Colorado School of Mines is a thriving campus. It’s also an increasingly relevant one at a time when the focus has shifted to domestically-sourced energy, and the race to create processes and products that enhance both the environment and the needs of modern technology. Yet for all its unique differences, the Colorado School of Mines is perhaps no different than any other institution Barnes & Noble College partners with. “It’s really all about taking care of one customer at a time, making it right for them,” Showers maintains.

It’s a policy the bookstore adopts with everyone from the janitor to the President, and one reflective of the college it supports. And as Showers will tell you, at the end of their education, the outgoing students have the opportunity to reclaim a stone from Mt Zion, yet very few do. It’s perhaps symbolic of a community that likes to make things, and somehow leave the world a better place.