If you see Seawolves prowling around Port Jefferson, don’t be frightened. It’s all part of a plan to team up with Stony Brook University to promote the village to students and faculty of the school and get residents and visitors to see all the campus has to offer.
According to Jill Russell, Port Jefferson’s public relations representative, the village is popular with students so strengthening that bond made sense.
"We can stay connected and leverage all we have to offer here," Russell said.
The relationship opens opportunities for local businesses to cater to the population of approximately 25,000 students and faculty members at the university. Seawolves branded merchandise will be sold in local stores and signage declaring Port Jefferson as “Seawolves Country” will be put around the village and the campus.
According to Joan Dickinson, director of marketing and licensing for Stony Brook University, they have already started developing partnerships with retailers. East End Shirt Company is carrying Seawolves-branded clothing.
Students and faculty members also have a special ID card they can use as a debit card called a “Wolfie Wallet.” The program, launched just a month ago according to Dickinson, is already accepted at some off-campus retailers and she sees it as being easily expanded to the village.
The championship season for the University’s baseball team seems to have sparked interest in the Seawolves and Stony brook University by residents and businesses surrounding the college.
“People realized there’s a lot going on here during the baseball run,” Dickinson said. “Baseball was really exciting.”
Russell said that the relationship between Port Jefferson and the college has been building for a while. Last year, the school district partnered with the university during its science fair and the PTA’s Green Team initiatives. The SeaWolf research vessel, about to embark on a project to map the seafloor of the Long Island Sound, is also docked in Port Jefferson Harbor.
Dickinson thinks that, as neighbors, the university and the village should work together.
“It's feel good. We should rely on our neighbors,” she said. “We’re opening our doors and the village is opening its doors.”