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This fall a couple dozen students across the United States took up blogging for their alma maters. In occasional or weekly posts they offer slices of campus life that the Admissions office can share with prospective students and their parents. Because these are blogs and not recruiting brochures, the writers have a chance, it seems, to tell it like it is.

In terms of expansion planning, University of St. Francis had done everything right. The Catholic institution in Joliet, Ill., got input from city officials and residents. School officials even had the Cathedral Area Preservation Association's (CAPA) support, which was key with the campus falling within that city section.

Here's the good news: According to Chicago-area firm Teenage Research Unlimited, young people spent upwards of a whopping $169 billion in 2004. Those dollars can translate into significant business around colleges and can impact the way a school attracts Generation Y prospects.

The bad news: Figuring out how to build a retail portfolio makes for a real undertaking.

12/2005

It tantalizes the best millennial students with colorful and personalized brochures, screaming the student's name and interests.

With decreasing funding and increasing demand from students and faculty for the latest technology, smart spending of technology budgets is crucial at colleges and universities today. But IT decision makers are working hard to keep costs down and savings up while helping to further the missions of their schools.

Chances are, a few years ago you decided it was about time for your institution to create and maintain a professional, centralized website. You did away with the hodgepodge of independently designed pages and built the comprehensive, cohesive, well-branded site your students came to expect from your quality institution.

At New York's Manhattan School of Music, Linda McKnight is preparing to teach a Friday morning masterclass in double bass. It won't be much different from any other masterclass--there will be performances, demonstrations of technique by both instructor and students, and a healthy question-and-answer session--except for the fact that while McKnight gets ready in her classroom, her students are some 470 miles away at the Cleveland Institute of Music. They will participate via the internet.

Dave Berque, a computer science professor at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., got an odd wake-up call years ago when he was teaching a large class at an East Coast institution. He tried to get the class involved in the lesson; he tried asking questions; he tried urging them to ask questions. For the first four weeks, no interaction from students.

Then, one day in the fifth week, he had five or six people raise their hands. Unfortunately, it was not to ask questions, but to tell him the ceiling lights had caught fire.

What's the harm in the occasional drip from a ceiling or crack in a sidewalk? For colleges and universities, plenty. Consider these scenarios:

Potential liabilities. Life safety or code violations, such as improper ventilation in science labs, non-compliance with respect to ADA, or trip hazards as a result of deteriorating sidewalks or ragged flooring, expose the institution to potential legal action.

Star quarterbacks? Nobel laureates? Once upon a time, these people were the big deals on campuses. Now they have to make room for the new star, the endowment's hedge fund manager.

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