College students connect with the downtown Eau Claire community

Eau Claire (WQOW) – UW-Eau Claire students took over downtown Friday night during the seventh-annual UW Meets EC.

UW Meets EC gives students students a chance to connect with the community. Blugolds walked from business to business getting discounts, freebies, and prizes.

University officials say the event started seven years ago to get students more acquainted with downtown and learn about different recreational and employment opportunities. They added that activities like this make students feel more welcome, which helps with retention rates.

“When they’re more engaged or involved inside and outside the classroom, they are more likely to stay on campus and more likely to finish within those four years. And by providing these opportunities for them to easily get downtown and see how close it is, it’s a great experience for students,” said Nicole Rindone, senior coordinator for events and marketing at UW-Eau Claire.

Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor was one of the many businesses connecting with students Friday night. Owner Blayne Midthun says he wants to inspire students to stay in town, start their families, and maybe even create their own businesses. “I credit the university immensely for the business that we have,” said Midthun.  “It’s a fresh crop of students coming in every year. Year after year we have a lot of the same students coming in and a lot of our staff, our team members here in the parlor, they’re all university students for the most part.”

To celebrate UW Meets EC, Ramone’s gave away prizes including pints of ice cream and t-shirts along with their usual 10-percent discount for students.

University officials said when students made their way back to campus, they continued the festivities with a DJ, cotton candy, and campfire stories.

Katrina Lim

Katrina Lim

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