In an attempt to ease the “brain drain” of college undergraduates leaving the Rochester area, local businesspeople have devised a marketing competition to try to make the city more appealing to students. The competition, called Retain the Brains, will be between teams of one to five undergraduates from area colleges, including SUNY Brockport and SUNY Geneseo. “We all know Rochester is losing college undergraduates,” co-organizer of Retain the Brains and 1997 UR graduate Christopher Burns said. Burns was also a William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration student.According to a recent population study commissioned by M&T Bank and carried out by Harris Interactive, 47 percent of 18-21 year olds and 36 percent of 22-30 year olds said they are likely to leave Upstate New York in the next five years.Organizers of the competition hope to have the winning team tell them how to curb this trend and convince students to stay in Rochester and Monroe County upon graduation.”We hope to get a message by the people, for the people,” competition creator Peter Bruu said. Bruu is head of Simple Business Technology, one of many Rochester-area companies and organizations that are sponsoring Retain the Brains. According to Burns, smaller colleges tend to have higher retention rates for undergraduates than the larger UR. In a similar fashion, Retain the Brains has received more entries from smaller colleges like Monroe Community College than from UR.Currently three UR teams areSee BRAIN, Page 7 signed up to compete, but Burns said he would like to see more contend.”As a UR grad,” Burns said, “I want to get as many UR teams involved.”Junior Ben Margolis, founder of http://www.OffCampusFood.com, has entered Retain the Brains along with partner and senior Greg Stein. Margolis sees many reasons for students to stay in Rochester after graduation.”I don’t think [Rochester] gets the respect it deserves,” Margolis said. “With this it gives me a really good opportunity to change people’s minds about where they go to school.”Winners from each college will then go before judges in the regional competition. Each member of the overall winning team will be awarded $1,000 each, a “Rochester Pass,” allowing free admission for one year to cultural and athletic events in the city and a guaranteed interview with a Rochester-area company.”We hope to get a list of 10 to 15 names applicants already know of,” Bruu said of the companies students can choose to interview with. Retain the Brains is accepting Notification of Interest forms from teams until this Friday. The form states that a team wishes to take part in the competition. The form can be downloaded at http://www.retainthebrains.com.Merkley can be reached atrmerkley@campustimes.org.



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