When UConn moved its suburban
"You've got to get them to leave the cocoon of the university," said Sandy Goldstein, president of the Stamford Downtown Special District. "You want them to walk to other places to have lunch, participate in outdoor events and become more a part of downtown."
In the first years after the campus relocated, it was too easy for students, many of them commuters, to attend classes, eat at the building's cafeteria, cross the street to the parking garage and then drive out of the city, Goldstein said.
"We sent them everything about what we did — outdoor concerts, discounted food opportunities at our restaurants," Goldstein said.
The payoff wasn't fast, Goldstein said: It took a good five years. But the result, more than a decade after the move, has been worth it.
"It's added a wonderful energy downtown," Goldstein said. "The best thing, don't put a cafeteria inside, it will encourage them to go outside."
UConn's move to downtown Hartford, announced Thursday, is expected within a year. The location has not been disclosed because negotiations are continuing.
The university hasn't said whether it will be one building or a combination of more than one. Some potential sites are the former Travelers on Constitution Plaza, the two-towered Connecticut River Plaza and One Talcott Plaza.
Erin Pollard, executive director of Business For Downtown Hartford, a merchant association representing about 100 , said the organization would encourage students to explore the downtown beyond the university, possibly through a sponsored gift card program that lets them try out area restaurants or stores.
"Of course, with tight class schedules, you're going to have people who stay on campus, but you're also going to have that spillover into the downtown," she said. "We want to reach out to that campus and let them know about the good stuff in Hartford."
Hartford has a growing roster of colleges downtown: