Saint Joseph’s College, located in Standish, Maine, serves about 1,000 on-campus students and an additional 3,000 distance learning students all over the U.S. and worldwide. While the college has provided the same personalized, career-focused education to all of its students for over 100 years, until recently, their course materials were being supplied by two separate providers.
The search for a new provider who could serve the entire student body was prompted when members of a few departments voiced their opinions about how their on-campus, leased bookstore's selection wasn’t fully meeting the needs of their students.
“We didn’t realize that it was past time to improve what we had until we took a step back and explored what was actually out there,” said Stuart Leckie, general manager of the college’s Pearson’s Cafe.
Leckie's responsibilities include overseeing the integration of campus courses into the Online Bookstore, as well as managing the facilities, so he has a firsthand perspective of what this change will mean for the students.
With their prior online provider, the distance learning students didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of buying choices like marketplace and rental, or a convenient way to sell back their books. By partnering with MBS Direct, Saint Joseph’s will be able to offer them a simplified online buyback, and a choice of a wide variety of purchasing options and broad selection of course materials, just in time for classes beginning in January.
“We’re looking forward to much more versatility and ordering options than we’ve had in the past — for all of our students,” Leckie said. "It's important for us to move forward with both distance learners and traditional students under the same umbrella, with the same provider."
In June 2016, both distance learning and on-campus students will use the Online Bookstore. By the following fall, the bookstore will reopen to sell general merchandise and convenience items.
"We're planning on expanding our offerings at the campus bookstore to include the items students generally need on a daily basis," he said.
According to Leckie, the transition has gone very smoothly.
“Every interaction we’ve had in getting set up so far has been seamless,” he said. ”We’re really excited to bring MBS on board.”