NMU’s annual Fall Fest offers opportunity

As summer continues to grace us with its hot presence, the last thing you want to think about is “back to school.” However, if you’re a business in Marquette County, consider giving a little attention to the upcoming Fall Fest event happening at Northern Michigan University.

When school is in session, NMU’s student enrollment accounts for 13 percent of Marquette County’s population. According to a study completed by a third party of NMU in 2013, estimated local expenditures by NMU’s students exceeds $31 million annually. In addition, students bring more than 24,000 visitors to the Marquette area, spending an additional $4 million annually.

In 2016, it was estimated by NMU that 82 percent of NMU students are Michigan residents, the additional 18 percent are from various parts of the United States and other countries. The diversity of the Wildcat student body and faculty is a significant part of our community’s dynamic culture. Concerts, athletic events and other scholastic activities bring beautiful flavor to Marquette County and keeping our community engaged with the university.

As a way to engage students, faculty and staff, along with the local business community, an annual Fall Fest is put on every year on the first day of class. Fall Fest is a collaboration between the NMU Center for Student Enrichment, NMU Leadership Program Office and the Lake Superior Community Partnership. The educational institution and economic driver have goals of making sure local businesses continue to grow and thrive in the community. Fall Fest is not only a warm welcome for students coming back, but also an economic development opportunity for businesses, clubs and organizations to introduce its products or services to the campus community.

Beginning in August 1987, the first Fall Fest had 15 participating businesses. In 2005, Fall Fest outgrew the University Center lawn and was moved to the academic mall. In 2017, 76 businesses, 36 volunteer organizations and over 150 student organizations participated in Fall Fest.

Fall Fest continues to be an excellent way to introduce students to local businesses. Students also have the chance at Fall Fest to connect with other student organizations and explore volunteer opportunities with community nonprofit organizations.

This year’s event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 27. Local businesses, clubs and organizations are encouraged to purchase a booth ($60 per booth for LSCP members, $120 for non-members) and be present as we welcome students, faculty and staff back for another semester. Vendors must register with the LSCP office by Aug. 20.

For more information or to register for the 2018 Fall Fest at NMU, call the Lake Superior Community Partnership Office at 906-226-6591 or visit our website at www.marquette.org to register online. Payment is due upon registration.

Editor’s NOTE: Amy Clickner is CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.