Record enrollment draws students downtown

By Rachel Snyder

The University of Texas-Arlington reached an all-time record enrollment of 33,806 students this spring semester. The growing student population and opening of the College Park District make it more important than ever for Arlington businesses to appeal to students.

The Levitt Pavilion, an outdoor concert venue on Abram Street, provides 50 free concerts per year.

Communications Director Cathy O’Neal said the Levitt informs students about their events by advertising in the student newspaper, The Shorthorn, and posting their events on the newspaper and university calendars.

The Levitt is the site of UTA's Graduation Celebration every spring, which includes a speaker, music and fireworks for graduating seniors. The Levitt also is featured in UTA's Night on the Town, in which students go to various businesses downtown to get information about the business and discounts.

However, despite free being an appealing price to most college students, O’Neal said they don’t get as many student patrons as she would like. The majority of their patrons are permanent Arlington residents older than 30, she said.

“We start our concert series after school ends in the spring, and a lot of people go home or to jobs for the summer,” O'Neal said.

In contrast to the Levitt, the Smiling Moose Deli in the ultra-modern, newly-open College Park District boasts high student traffic.

Brooks Kendall, Smiling Moose manager, said their chateau-style location under the new residence hall, Vandergriff Hall, gives them a foundation of daily customers—70 percent of their in-store business. He said students have less impact on their catering business and make up half of their catering numbers.

“Business is getting better all the time,” Kendall said. “There was a big boom when we first opened; now it's gone down a little bit.”

Smiling Moose also brings students in by advertising on campus, in The Shorthorn, and by hosting profit share nights with student organizations.

The contrast in student numbers at Smiling Moose and the Levitt Pavilion indicates that a convenient, on-campus location makes a difference in the number of student patrons.