High-Tech Tablets and Expansion Please Students
North Arkansas College’s student satisfaction rates are on the rise. As students return to campus, they’ve noticed changes in the bookstore. Improvements over the summer have impacted vital aspects of the college atmosphere like the convenience of purchasing merchandise necessary for classes and the ability to sip a cup of java or enjoy a bit of chocolate between classes.
The walls and shelves are packed to maximum capacity with merchandise proudly displaying Pioneer Spirit and Northark’s official logos and colors. Northark outfits are available for adults, children, infants, and even dogs!
The Northark bookstore is one of a growing minority still owned by the college rather than a third party. Revenue raised by the bookstore goes into the auxiliary fund where it is used for athletics and student activities. This fall, Pioneer athletic fans will enjoy new bleachers paid in part, by the revenue generated from the bookstore.
Students can be assured their purchases at Northark are returned to the college to support athletics, campus improvements, and student activities.
In the past, students had to travel to the south campus to buy books. If classes were in session, navigating parking lots and meandering down crowded hallways were part of the journey to visit the bookstore. Student feedback indicated the need for bookstore items at the north campus located in Harrison on the hill behind PACE Industries. Last July, Dr. Mindy Maddux, vice president of student services responded by opening a bookstore at this location named Pioneer Pete’s. Pioneer Pete is Northark’s longstanding mascot whose image greets students as they enter the bookstore. The store is conveniently located adjacent to the Weldon Stevenson Student Center. The goal of Pioneer Pete’s is to provide books, supplies, Northark apparel, and snacks to students in classes on the north campus.
The bookstore now offers affordable technology that provides students with tools to access all Northark services from various locations. Microsoft tablets are sold through the bookstore at greatly reduced prices for a limited time. Students can purchase the tablets which come loaded with the basic Microsoft Office programs and functional Wi-Fi connectivity for $199 until September 30, 2013.
“The students absolutely love it. The tablets have been flying off the shelves,” Dr. Maddux told a spokesperson.
Another innovative addition is new “Grill Cards” which allow students to purchase food at the College Grill and charge it to Financial Aid when it’s active. Grill cards can be purchased as gift cards to feed hungry students throughout the year.
Student activities has created “Pioneer Points” cards to motivate and reward students for being actively involved in organizations like Student Government, Northark Drama, Agri Club, Phi Beta Lambda, or a host of other organizations on campus which are designed to provide the ultimate collegiate experience. When students attend meetings or participate in events, points accumulate and can be exchanged for Northark apparel. A student activities calendar located at http://www.northark.edu/activities/default.aspx provides an internet location for students to see all the activities occurring on campus on any given day.
The upgrades to the Northark Bookstore are just one of many recent improvement projects on campus. A 15,000 square foot Science Building is under construction and is slated for completion in January 2014. A new Welcome Center is being developed to update the entrance near the south campus sun dial to include handicapped accessible restrooms and office space for key personnel. Pioneer Pavilion is experiencing a makeover, and new signage and tee boxes are planned upgrades for Northark’s Pioneer Wilderness Challenge Disc Golf and Cross Country Track.