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Delta celebrates its first year with university partners

Published: 22/06/2016 - Filed under: Home » News »

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Relationships between universities and large corporations have traditionally been gone the way of large corporation pays for advertising and logos at key campus events – university spends the money on required campus improvements. This year Delta has changed the way they work with college campuses and has reached out to students and alumni on different levels. 

“Delta’s approach to university sponsorship has moved far beyond a couple of well-placed signs in a stadium,” said Jake Abel, General Manager – University Marketing. “We’re reaching beyond athletics to connect with students and alumni on social media, at philanthropic events, and at other milestones in their college journey. We’re proud of the relationships we’ve built so far and are looking forward to deepening our partnerships in the years to come.”  

The airline signed exclusive agreements with universities across the US and has engaged in different campus events.  One of the most inspiring stories is the partnership with Indiana University and the Girls Inc. after school program.  The program had a field trip to the annual Little 500 campus bicycle race hosted in Bloomington -- and attended by 25,000 fans.  Behind the scenes, over 200 student volunteers built 50 new bikes and at the race donated them to the girls who participate in the Girls Inc. program of Monroe County. 

Delta also tried their hand at the popular app Snapchat.  A customized filter was created for the partner schools graduation ceremonies and over 500,000 Snapchat views were reached.  The filters blew away the Snapchat benchmarks by a factor of 10. 

What other clever techniques did the airline use?  They started off the year in style and helped 10,000 MSU freshman on the dreaded move-in day.  Delta employees offered luggage carts, refreshments and even care packages to help students adapt to their campus lives. 

This doesn’t mean Delta didn’t participate in the good times affiliated with football and basketball season events.  The Delta Celebration Grill was built to look like  an aircraft and can produce about 500 burgers an hour! Impressive numbers.    The grill has a wingspan of more than 20 feet across, the fuselage grilling chamber is 38 feet long and nearly 15 feet high at the tip of its tail.

At these events where they fired up the grill on university campuses Delta was successful in signing up 38,000 new SkyMiles members by participating with local alumni association chapters. 

The lucky schools involved in this partnership include Duke University, The University of Florida, University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Notre Dame, The Ohio State University, Penn State University and University of Wisconsin. The airline also has existing partnerships with Boston College, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina and Syracuse University.

It’s great to see some outside of the box thinking that inspires our youth, builds new things and promotes the American dream.

By Elizabeth Atkinson

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