Georgia Southern University is a whole lot more than an educational institution. It generates an enormous amount of money for our region, not just from textbooks and pizza. It includes payroll, construction, utilities, everything that keeps a university going.
Jeff Yawn of Archibald's Restaurant spends his mornings getting ready for the lunch rush. He says he can't imagine a day without Georgia Southern in Statesboro. "I don't know that we would have a business here without Georgia Southern," he said.
A new study says the university generates a half billion dollars a year for the region's economy. Besides new construction, it includes nearly $100 million in student spending and $82 million in direct payroll. The university has about 1,800 employees. When you add what they spend, what students spend and what the university spends on everything from paper products to construction, that means about 6,500 more jobs across the Coastal Empire.
Surveyor Lamar Reddick heads this year's community fund drive for the university. It's called A Day for Southern and it's tomorrow. Volunteers hope to raise $1 million for the university to use for scholarships, the museum, marching band, anything not funded by the state.
He says everyone in the community does business with the university whether they know it or not. "Even if he doesn't sell to a student or to Georgia Southern, somebody else that buys gas or utilities or services from him is affected by the dollar flow," Reddick said.
The study says each dollar is re-spent seven times before it leaves the community. Jeff Yawn and others say the more the university grows, the more goes on their plates as well. The university study says the economic impact stretches across an eight-county area as far south as Chatham County.