Portland State’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions has teamed up with Celilo Group Media’s Chinook Book to provide the PSU community with access to a free mobile app.
The Chinook Book is a local coupon book with coupons oriented toward local businesses and events for the community to use.
Celilo Group Media got its start in 1999, publishing their first Chinook Book the following year and launching a general mobile app in 2010. This year they have created one that caters specifically to the PSU community.
“What we’ve launched is a customized implementation at Portland State,” said Nik Blosser, Celilo’s president. According to Blosser, the app will have nearly 50 different coupons for use near PSU. Some of the businesses with coupons include Hotlips Pizza, the Portland Art Museum and Foot Traffic.
The app is currently in a six-month pilot phase. The hope is that it will help expose students to local businesses while giving them an opportunity to save money in the process. “It’s a way for students to save money and [a way] to promote local businesses,” Blosser said.
Celilio will measure success based upon how often coupons are redeemed, as well as whether students find the app to be a useful tool for getting to know the greater Portland community.
“How do you create a sense of community at PSU?” asked Jennifer Allen, the director at ISS. This is one of the central points of the project. The partnership is exploring the potential of this app to act as a community-building exercise.
In addition to helping promote local businesses, the project is using the app as method for outreach.
“It’s also about how PSU can effectively engage the students,” Allen said. Most importantly, they are focused on whether the project will effectively engage those who aren’t inclined to do so.
As Allen explained, many ISS initiatives incorporate the goal of drawing in more student participation. ISS is treating this app as another potentially fruitful avenue for students to get involved with sustainability both on and off campus. “The Chinook Book app helps students connect with businesses and other resources in their community that support sustainability,” she said.
“We’ve had great success with individuals using the Chinook Book app, and we are thrilled to launch the first extension of the Chinook Book mobile platform for a university community,” said Carrie Treadwell, market director of the Portland Chinook Book. This is the first time that Celilo has launched a product specifically for a university.
“We hope to see a strong interaction between [students and local businesses],” Blosser said. “If this works well with PSU we would like to expand this to other college campuses.”
The app is free and available through cell phone providers.