Unity College recently launched an online presence for its bookstore giving students, parents, and alumni access to a full array of products. Now, consumers can either stop by the campus or purchase items from wherever they are located, whenever it is convenient for them.

Bookstore manager Leigh Juskevice ’92 implemented the new site after requests from alumni who wanted Unity gear, many of whom live out of state and rarely have the opportunity to come to campus.

The new e-commerce Unity College bookstore is offers clear images of the products on an easy to navigate platform, and is in line with the College’s web standards. The decision to create the bookstore website was made in early spring, and Juskevice worked with the College’s Business Office and IT Department on the implementation. The response to date has been largely positive. Click here to visit the new Unity College bookstore.

“Our new e-commerce bookstore provides a value-added opportunity of convenient, online shopping for college community members such as alumni and parents of students who can’t get to our campus and want to purchase Unity College products,” said Deborah Cronin, V.P. Finance and Administration for Unity College. “This expansion of our online presence will benefit the College through a broadened awareness of our campus and the Unity College brand.”

Prior to its official launch, Juskevice asked a targeted group of alumni for initial feedback and used their comments to help her refine the website for navigability, ease of use, and product offerings. Since the website has gone live, parents, alumni and incoming students have said that they find the site appealing, user-friendly, and are looking forward to seeing new products as they become available.

“The input I received from the community really helped in shaping our new website,” said Juskevice. “I am very pleased that the response to the online bookstore has been so positive and am looking forward to adding interesting products on consistent basis and keeping in touch with alumni through our e-commerce platform.”

The Development Department often hears from alumni who are spread out all over the country and say that one of their “wish list” items from their alma mater is to be able to purchase Unity College gear.

“We have alum from Oregon to Florida and everywhere in between who have fond memories of Unity College and want to be able to purchase remembrances of their time here,” said Deb Noone, Parent and Alumni Relations Coordinator. “Now that the College offers products for purchase online, alumni are pleased to know that even though they are miles away, they still have the ability to replace their worn out sweatshirt or buy a t-shirt in a color that wasn’t offered while they were here on campus.”

Recently, the Development Office put out a call to alumni to send the College photos of them showing their Unity gear. Noone says that in the past they have received many images, and most recently received a photo from a 2013 graduate hiking in Great Falls Park along the Potomac in Maryland, holding her green, stainless steel Unity College water bottle.

“We thought it would be fun to see our alumni, wherever they are in the world, wearing their Unity College t-shirts, hats, or holding their coffee mugs or water bottles,” said Noone. “Now that we have our online bookstore, we anticipate that our request to ‘show us your Unity gear’ will really take off, and we are looking forward to seeing the photographs continue to come in from all over.”

Additionally, Development often hears from Unity College graduates throughout the country who run into other graduates, identifiable from a Unity t-shirt or hat they are wearing. Alumni feel an instant sense of connection and nostalgia for the College. These situations are certain to spur future visits by alumni to the new online e-commerce bookstore, looking to keep their Unity College experience fresh in their minds and hearts.

In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including: its focus on sustainability science, the leading-edge of 21st century ecological problem solving and the vanguard in the fight for the mitigation of global climate change; its ground-breaking “green” innovations such as the award-winning TerraHaus, the first student residence on a college or university campus built to the Passive House standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world; and for being the first college in the United States to divest from investments in fossil fuels, igniting a growing national movement in higher education.

Unity College is a private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013