Info aims to attract Tulane

In a survey now out in the community, Madison officials hope to learn if local residents are: a) Interested in taking college level courses b) Apt to attend part-time classes c) Keen on college-level enrichment courses d) Very likely or likely or somewhat likely or not likely to attend a local branch of Tulane University.

For the next two weeks, city officials hope to get 2,500 responses to surveys on the interest level in Tulane’s opening a satellite campus in the former Madison Station Elementary building.

How strong the responses are will help determine whether Tulane locates here next summer for a three-year pilot program.

“This is not a done deal, but we are optimistic on our part,” said Steve Vassallo, the city’s economic development consultant who approached Tulane about the opportunities in Madison.

“The only way this will happen – the results of the survey have to be impressive,” he said. “Tulane officials don’t want to make a multi-million dollar investment without high interest.”

The deadline for the surveys is July 17. Results will be handed over to university officials who are now working on a business plan to see if a Madison campus is a workable under Tulane’s School of Continuing Studies.

The survey asks how interested respondents are in having a Tulane branch nearby, the likelihood of attending, the types of subjects and the probability of using the branch for enrichment courses. Tulane officials crated the survey questions.

“We want to get these in the hands of as many students as possible,” Vassallo said. “This influences and affects their future.”

Junior Ambassadors of Madison the City Chamber of Commerce and members of the Mayor’s Youth Council rallied with city officials on Monday as they picked up surveys to distribute in the community.

“The young people of Madison will be driving this train,” Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler said about the student effort with the surveys.

City officials are looking for anyone interested in taking classes from Tulane to take the survey. Surveys are available at the chamber office, at City Hall, at local banks and other businesses around town, as well as online. Surveys can be turned in at City Hall or the chamber or mailed to Box 243,Madison, MS 39130. Surveys are also available in the city’s Newsletter mailed out this week.

The Madison County Business League is sponsoring the paper surveys because a Tulane campus can benefit the entire county, executive director Jan Collins said. “The League sees the impact it can have,” she said.

By: Lucy Webber

Madison County Herald