The Get to Know M.E. campaign launched earlier this year to promote the metro-east has a new way to get out its message: 40 steel benches displaying the campaign’s theme will be placed throughout the region.
“Get to Know M.E. means get to know the metro-east,” said Carol Bartle, the project manager for the campaign. “We’re trying to promote communication.”
“And the reason for a bench is, ‘Where better to have a conversation with someone?’” Bartle said. “You sit on the bench, someone comes over and sits next to you and you start talking about the fine things that are around us.”
The blue benches show the message “Get to Know M.E. The Metro-East. I live here. I love it.”
Twenty-three businesses and organizations sponsor the campaign, and they will either display one of the benches on their site or donate it.
To request a bench for your community, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the campaign’s website at www.Get2KnowTheMetroEast.com.
We’re trying to get people to realize what they have on this side of the river.
Carol Bartle, project manager for the Get to Know M.E. campaign
Bartle, who founded Swansea-based Barcom Security and retired 20 years ago, said the campaign is trying to tie together folks from Alton down to the Waterloo and Columbia area.
“We’re trying to get people to realize what they have on this side of the river,” she said. “And we have many, many wonderful things. We have great schools, we have wonderful festivals and there always seems to be something going on. The river becomes a little bit wider coming from St. Louis to Illinois but we need to let those people know that we have a lot of activities.”
The campaign was developed by the BND and modeled after a successful program in Wichita, Kan.
Jay Tebbe, president and publisher of the BND, said, “The campaign is a positive and visible reminder to reinforce the message about living here and loving it and about investing in the future of our metro-east community.”
Tebbe, a lifelong resident of the metro-east, said he is excited to see the support from the host sponsors.
One of the campaign’s contributions will be the awarding of four college scholarships worth $2,000 each. The scholarships will go to four students, one from each of the sponsor universities and colleges of the Get to Know M.E. campaign: Lindenwood University-Belleville, McKendree University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southwestern Illinois College.
To earn one of the scholarships, students must write a 500-word essay on why they love the metro-east and what they’re doing to promote the metro-east. To be eligible, students must live in one of the following counties: Madison, Monroe, St. Clair, Randolph, Clinton or Washington.
The deadline to apply is Nov. 1. For more information about the scholarships, go to www.Get2KnowTheMetroEast.com.
For next year, Bartle expects the number of campaign sponsors to increase.
“We are going to focus on neighborhoods next year,” she said. “And we hope that the campaign will make a difference to the people that are living here and to the people that are wanting to move here.”