Bloomsburg University Working to Reverse Enrollment Trend

Dr. Bashar Hanna, Bloomsburg University President, recently provided an overview of the University’s budget, construction projects on campus, and other issues of interest to the local area and public.

Enrollment at Bloomsburg University has been on a slow but steady decline since the fall of 2013. The lower number of students, combined with flat funding from the state, is resulting in a projected revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year and a deficit for 2018/19 of over $7.4 million. University President Dr. Bashar Hanna discussed efforts to increase enrollment at a breakfast meeting held recently with community leaders.

Enrollment at BU for this past fall semester was 9,287, down 8% or 840 students from the fall of 2013. Summer numbers have dropped from 3,378 in 2013 to 2,854 last summer. These decreases are not exclusive to Bloomsburg, reflecting a general decrease in younger demographics across the northeast. One semester that has seen an increase is the winter semester, up from 517 students in 13-14 to 1,324 during the most recent session.

The University has been working on a strategic enrollment management plan to reverse this trend and support the long-term financial stability of the institution. Pennsylvania’s appropriation to Bloomsburg for the current fiscal year is $37 million, essentially the same as it was in FY 2007/08. The funding provided by the state represents 25% of the University’s total revenue, with the remainder representing student tuition and fees. In FY 07/08, the state appropriation was 36% of the University’s revenue. 

Having an inviting campus and Town are important components to attracting students, according to Dr. Hanna. A “one-stop shop” for student services will be located in a new building that will be constructed on the site of the Centennial Parking Lot. The project, which will house several offices including those currently in the Waller Administration Building, is scheduled to begin this spring and be completed by December 2019.

The intersection upgrade at Lightstreet Road and Country Club Drive is scheduled to begin in May and be completed in August. That project will provide turning lanes in both directions to increase traffic flow. Funding is being provided through a grant received by the Town as well as the University.

The Town/Gown Relations Committee continues to meet regularly to maintain a positive relationship and identify ways to enhance the Town. Topics of discussion include parking, code & zoning regulations, student housing, student behavior, and town/university partnership opportunities. One issue Hanna has received significant input on is the annual spring Block Party. He noted that steps taken last year helped to reduce the number of incidents with police, admitting that one year does not make a trend. On campus visitation was limited to one guest during the weekend last year and several campus parking lots were closed or carefully monitored. Participation in the on-campus alternative event, Springfest, has also increased. Citations issued last year were down significantly from the 2016 event, and only 20% of which involved students enrolled at Bloomsburg University.

Among the issues raised by those in attendance were increasing positive interactions between the Town and University, and helping students feel more welcome in the community.

Business After Hours Postponed to Thursday, March 22

The Business After Hours scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 at Wild For Salmon has been postponed to Thursday, March 22, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. due to weather conditions on Wednesday. 

Register to attend the event here

Member News – March 21, 2018

Member News

  • The Enactus group at Bloomsburg University will partner with Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc. to conduct one more free workshop for businesses on how they can make use of social media for marketing purposes. The workshop will focus on optimizing social media management by touching upon marketing statistics, brand development, content creation and how to stay active on social media. The program will be presented tomorrow, March 22, beginning at 6 p.m. at 151 East Main St., Bloomsburg (in the I-Cell Repair location). Local small businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to take advantage of this free opportunity and are also welcome to invite colleagues and/or neighbors. 


  • For those that aren’t able to attend tomorrow night’s Business After Hours at Wild For Salmon (note the postponement from Wednesday due to weather), it will host a spring seafood tasting this Saturday, March 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its retail store and warehouse at 521 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11), Bloomsburg. Chef Josh has created an all new menu for this event, which includes halibut cheek ceviche, sweet and tangy sole soup, roasted shrimp salad, as well as new recipes featuring sockeye salmon and tuna (note: samples of these foods will also be served at Thursday’s Business After Hours). This event is free and open to the public. 


  • State Rep. David Millard will host two upcoming drug forums on Tuesday, March 27 at Millville High School and on Tuesday, April 24 at Benton High School, from 6-8 p.m. Adults and children are invited to attend these events, which are designed to share information about drug abuse, the opioid crisis and how to avoid drug addiction. Speakers include Jeremy Reese, Columbia County coroner, representatives from Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, and representatives from a local rehabilitation facility. These forums are free and open to the public, and registration is not required. Visit Rep. Millard’s website or call 570-759-8734 or 570-387-0246 for more information. 


  • Bloomsburg University will holds its third annual Advocacy, Connections and Empowerment for Older Adults Career and Community Expo on Thursday, April 5, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the lobby area of the 2303 auditorium in the McCormick building. The purpose of this expo is to connect undergraduate students from a variety of majors to professionals who work to meet the needs of and provide services to older adults. Following the expo, there will be a presentation by Amanda Cavaleri at 6 p.m. in the 2303 auditorium. Cavaleri is a entrepreneur from Colorado that is changing the landscape of careers in aging. Her current project is called “Connect The Ages,” whose mission is to “build multimedia awareness tools and grassroots campaigns to help younger generations see and experience the value in older generations and to bridge the gap between educators and students and the demands of an aging America.” Light refreshments will be provided. There is no cost to attend, however registration is required by contacting Mary Jo Larcom by email or phone at 570-389-4479. 


  • Geisinger Health Plan and the Columbia-Montour Aging Office, Inc. will team up to bring “A Matter of Balance,” an award-winning program, to the area for a series of presentations in April and May. This program for older adults and is designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. It is available to the public at no cost and will be held each Monday, beginning on April 9 and running through May 21, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Maria Joseph Continuing Care Community, located at 1707 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11), Danville. The program will also be held on Tuesday, May 29 due to Memorial Day, and this will be the last class. Attendees will learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home and exercise to increase strength and balance. Registration is required, and to do so, call the GHP wellness team at 866-415-7138. 


  • Montour County, the Borough of Danville, and Child Care Information Services of Columbia, Montour & Northumberland Counties will celebrate the Week of the Young Child on Tuesday, April 10 at 10 a.m. on the steps of the Montour County Courthouse on Mill St. in Danville. The commissioners and mayor of Danville will read a proclamation of WOYC, there will be a reading of the children’s book My Cousin Momo by Zach O’Hara, and musical entertainment by “The Singing Mailman.” WOYC is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to raise awareness and advocacy surrounding the importance of early childhood programs and services.


  • The Bucknell Small Business Development Center will offer a First Step Workshop on Wednesday, April 11, from 1-3 p.m. at Service 1st Federal Credit Union, located at 1985 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11), Danville. This “pre-business” workshop is intended to assist potential entrepreneurs that are considering starting a business but might not know where to start. Attendees will learn about legal structure, selection a location, licenses and forms, insurance needs, business planning, small business taxes, hiring employees and more. Cost is $25 for each workshop, and those interested can register online or by calling 570-577-1249. 


  • Thrivent Financial will host a tax reform workshop on Thursday, April 12, at 6 p.m. at the Bloomsburg Public Library. Find out how you and your family will fare under the new changes to the U.S. federal tax code, which was changed due to the new law passed in December. Learn about those tax law changes that could impact you, and get positive, professional guidance from the professionals from Thrivent. No products or services will be sold at this event. Light refreshments will be served and there is no cost to attend, however and RSVP is requested by calling Richard Keller at 570-317-2111 or email


  • The local PA CareerLink centers have scheduled their 2018 job fairs. The local one in our area will be held on Wednesday, May 9, from 4-7 p.m. at Columbia-Montour Area Vocational Technical School, located at 5050 Sweppenheiser Dr., Bloomsburg. There will also be job fairs during May just outside of the area at Shikellamy High School in Sunbury on May 2 and at the Selinsgrove VFW in May 30. Later in the year, there will be one at the Best Western in Lewisburg on Sept. 6. The registration links for employers are now open for the three May events. See the flyer for more information as well as registration links. 

Spots Remain For Nonprofit Vendors at Annual Bloomsburg Renaissance Jamboree

Renaissance Jamboree2The 40th annual Renaissance Jamboree in downtown Bloomsburg will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. This annual event is run by Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc., and is co-sponsored by Bloomsburg University and its Program Board, the Columbia Montour Chamber and the Town of Bloomsburg

There are still plenty of vendor slots remaining for nonprofit organizations. The application deadline was on March 12, however it is being extended for nonprofits. If your nonprofit organization is interested in being a vendor, please fill out the application and see the guidelines. The cost for a nonprofit vendor is just $25, and only online registrations are being accepted. 

For more information, visit the Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc. website.

Welcome Budget Roofing, Inc.

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Budget Roofing, Inc., to help us fulfill our mission.

With more than 35 years of experience in roofing, Budget Roofing installs commercial, industrial and residential roofs for its customers. It is a licensed Red Shield applicator in good standing with the Firestone Building Products Company, and is also in good standing with the National Roofing Contractors Association, a non-profit trade association for roofing professionals. It is approved to install numerous roofing systems, including Firestone, Versico and Carlisle rubber roofing, single ply rubber, as well as hot tar and thermal plastic. Some of its previous projects include fellow Chamber members Bloomsburg High School, Geisinger’s Justin Drive building and Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital. For more information, call 570-648-4951, or email or visit its website