When exams end in April, Acadia University’s classrooms, sports fields, and residence rooms, normally occupied by students throughout the academic year, can sit relatively empty. However, instead of waiting for this space to be filled again by students when they come back to campus in the fall, Acadia pursues organizations – both internal and external – to hold events on campus.
Major events held at Acadia have proven over many years to generate significant economic returns for the University, the Town, and Kings County more generally.
This past summer, Acadia was host to Football Canada Cup, which saw over 700 athletes from across the country visit Wolfville, staying on campus and in local accommodations for ten days or more. Based on the economic impact of previous Football Canada Cup events in other cities, Football Canada estimates its annual championships pump $2.3 million into local economies. Participants and fans who attend these events, stay, eat, and shop locally.
Additionally, those who stay on campus and use Acadia’s facilities contribute to the local economy. Acadia’s food-service supplier, Chartwells, sources many of the products it uses from 18 different local farmers and business owners including Just Us!, Oulton’s Meat, Scotsburn Dairy, and Stirling Fruit Farm. When visitors eat in meal hall or have their campus events catered through Chartwells, their money is being driven back into the local economy. And these food purchases are substantial. According to Peter Welton, Executive Chef for Chartwells, Football Canada Cup athletes consumed 4,620 L of milk (2%, skim, and chocolate), 390 kg of bacon, 1,260 kg of scrambled eggs, 450 kg of chicken, and more.
Events like these are important because they offer an opportunity for job creation for students and community members. This summer, Acadia was able to hire six students to work for the duration of Football Canada Cup. The increase of visitors to the town creates job opportunities elsewhere as local businesses need extra staff to handle the increase of traffic.
“Acadia is the perfect venue to host events like Football Canada Cup and USport championships,” says Kevin Dickie, Acadia’s Executive Director of Varsity Athletics and Events. “We have a great venue with excellent facilities, in a small campus community with few distractions for athletes. It’s a coach’s dream. For event organizers, we can offer very competitive prices which means they can attract more teams and fans. We host large scale events, such as tournaments, very well and we will be doing more of this kind of business in the future.”
Hosting events provides Acadia with a unique opportunity. “Events like Football Canada Cup are important for our University during the off-season because they showcase our campus and community to university-aged athletes and their families,” says Dickie. “It’s an alternative form of recruitment for Acadia and it lets everyone know what we have to offer here in the Valley and why we choose to live here.”