Passport payoffs in students’ future

Passport to Waco FTWBy Kate McGuire
Staff Writer

‘Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ seems to be the idea of the Passport to Waco program, but simplicity does not always mean big benefits for some vendors.

Passport to Waco is a simple concept: Students visit the seven businesses listed in the Passport and get it stamped from each place. In order to get it stamped, the student must make a purchase from the business. The booklet is then turned into the student government office by April 13 in exchange for a prize that has yet to be determined.

Briana Treadaway, external vice president is currently in charge of this initiative. Passport is a year-old student government program that allows students the opportunity to support local businesses, get to know the Waco community, and receive food.

Unlike last year when the program only ran a few weeks, this year’s program will begin in the next couple weeks and will run until April 12. Passports will be available to pick up in the student government office, located in the Bill Daniel Student Center.

Treadaway said about 750 to 1,000 passports are being printed now and will be available soon. Student government plans to advertise this through the Lariat as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and their webpage.

“Last year was the first year we opened and Passport to Waco helped us see a good crowd of Baylor students,” Staley Levvy, Oso’s Frozen Yogurt general manager, said. “This is a fairly new program for Baylor too, and we’ll need to see if this is something that all students want to do,” Levvy said.

Oso’s is a fairly new business that already offers a 10 percent discount to Baylor students and faculty.

“We have not seen too much of an increase. I would say that this has not made a huge impact on our business,” Ryan Summers, manager for Vitek’s BBQ, said.

Businesses get name recognition, profit from the students’ purchases and advertising but must pay a $50 participation fee and must donate 10 “rewards” in the forms of “free meal with purchase of” coupons, other certificates and a freebee student deal, according to the student government Passport to Waco application.

Like Vitek’s, other businesses haven’t seen a definite increase in business due to the Passport to Waco program.

“It could be because of anything. I’m not for sure whether our increase in revenue is because of Passport to Waco or because of our advertising,” Louis Ramirez, a manager for Tres Mexican Restaurant, said.

Levvy said she believes Passport is a great program that is helping the both Waco and Baylor community but would like to see more advertising at Baylor for the program.
“It’s not that much money compared to the business we’ve seen,” Levvy said.

In response to vendors comments on revenue and increase in Baylor consumer’s, Treadaway said, “Vitek’s is close to campus and students already know about it. This is meant to support local businesses especially like Oso’s that is a new business in Waco.”

To participate, students must make a purchase from all businesses involved to receive prizes from a random drawing by student government on Diadeloso.

Other businesses that benefit are Amici’s Family Restaurant, Baris Restaurant, Jake’s Texas Tea House and Outdoor Waco.

The program will continue through the semester but Treadaway said she wants to see growth in the program in the next few years.