Student City is a Palmerston North City Council funded project aimed at engaging with students to facilitate their integration into city-life so that their experience of Palmerston North is one of satisfaction, opportunity and overall well-being.
Community Services team leader, Axel de Maupeou says following a review of Student City last year the programme is now managed by the Council's Community Engagement Division.
"We went out and talked to our stakeholders about Student City and its initiatives and since then we have been implementing structural changes that will help Student City grow in the future."
"I'm very pleased to see Te Wananga o Aotearoa and IPC have recommitted to Student City and are again fully participating in the programme".
Axel says together with Destination Manawatū, Inspire.net and thesquare.co.nz the stakeholders have developed a new interactive website that enables students to customise their areas of interest.
Palmerston North's student population makes up a significant part of the population and is one part of the reason why the city's average age is 32.5 - one of the lowest in the country. However, the traditionally perceived 18-25 year old student age range no longer embraces the reality. It's important to acknowledge that students in Palmerston North are now of all ages, multi-ethnic and have various beliefs. As well as singles, many have partners and some have children.
Axel de Maupeou says previously Student City was hosted by Vision Manawatū and Coach Dan was its online face. There was a focus on leisure and entertainment and more recently sustainability. However, the change in the student demographic highlighted the need for a coordinated cross tertiary approach to Student City so the programme was reviewed.
"We consulted with Student City's stakeholders Massey University, UCOL, Te Wānanga o Aoteora, IPC and Destination Manawatū and from that we developed a new website with a focus on accessibility, user friendliness, accuracy and engagement. It allows students to customise what is of interest to them, which is a key feature of successful online platforms."
Axel says Studentcity.org.nz (http://www.studentcity.co.nz/) is also a platform where other student and city services can display their offers such as: student targeted advertisements; Chamber of Commerce opportunities; Student Job Search; student discounts and websites of the various student associations. Through the website, all data will be collected and centralised in the student city coordinators workplace in the Council and will only be used to improve the website and target information of interest to those who are interested.
Clare Crawley, acting chief executive of UCOL, says she's proud her organisation is part of Student City.
"Our City is full of culture and exciting events, and students contribute greatly to this. The new Student City website will work to bring students together as they pour into our city in the next few weeks."
Clare says the new website pulls together a wide variety of information into one place and promotes a strong sense of belonging to our community. I'm confident it will be effective for providers/stakeholders and useful to our Palmerston North student population.
Damian McGregor, marketing coordinator at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa says the Wānanga is pleased to be back in the Student City fold.
"The new look website will help ensure students from a variety of tertiary organisations feel part of the city - It's about knowing what's happening and getting involved."