Students can expect to receive a new set of perks as Grand & Toy and Porter Airlines are set to join the ranks of McMaster’s pre-existing community partners.

Launched as a pilot project in March 2013, the McMaster Partnership Development Unit has spent the last 10 months working to develop multiple collaborations between outside organizations and the McMaster community.

Led by Jeff Giles, director of the Athletics and Recreation department of McMaster Student Affairs, the program was developed as a method of creating more accessible benefits for the campus with organizations that already contribute minor supplies and services to the school.

Although the PDU was originally set to run for a year (ending this upcoming March), with recent successes in partnership development, the project will be running through the summer term until an indefinite date.

“Building relationships and partnerships is not a fast thing…the challenge is to show the partners that it’s good for them and good for us,” said Giles.

As of right now, the unit has developed full partnerships with Bell Mobility, Crowne Plaza, and Active Green and Ross, among others. The PDU also developed the “Maroon App”, which allows students to gain points when attending athletic games that can be used to make purchases with select retailers on campus.

The most recent full partnership, with Bell Mobility, was finalized in November 2013.

“The partnership [with Bell] was originally designed to save our staff and our university money, and then we also threw in the student plan,” added Giles.

“Some people have cell phones that are paid for or partially paid for by the university for business reasons, this particular program gives an extraordinary great deal on cell plans and data plans.”

Although the PDU was initially more rooted in faculty and campus perks, their extended time as a project seems to be making headway for students looking to benefit from campus partnerships. The current Bell-Mac collaboration also gives students a 10 percent discount off of plans on the website.

“I really believe that our university has a very strong brand… and that’s worth something to these companies,” said Giles.

With the upcoming connections to Grand & Toy and Porter Airlines, students can expect to potentially receive preferred purchasing and flying rates, along with the possibility of free tickets for students or staff travelling on behalf of the school.

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