LEWISBURG, Pa. — The following are story and photo ideas that may interest you from Bucknell University this month.
RETAIL’S NEW NORMAL: While the National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent, 2017’s record-breaking number of retail bankruptcies, layoffs and store closings have left retail with a gloomy outlook. Yet Bucknell management professor Jimmy Chen learned at the National Retail Federation’s Retail Academic Symposium 2017 this summer that retail is simply transitioning into its inevitable new normal. Chen reports that just a few years ago, the U.S. averaged more than 23 square feet of retail space per person, compared to about 4 square feet in most Western nations. He says the condensing of spaces is just a return to a more sustainable figure after 19th and 20th century consumerism pushed it too far. He also sees traditional measures for retailing jobs becoming obsolete. Jobs used to mean cashiers, stock workers, etc. While those jobs are declining, they’re being replaced with higher skill positions such as information technology, marketing, logistics and others. CONTACT: Chen, 570-577-1678, firstname.lastname@example.org
‘READY, SET, FIT’: More than 10 Bucknell students with both technical and humanities backgrounds have helped develop “Ready, Set, Fit,” a new smartphone app that marries physical fitness with place-based education, with an aim to improve health and quality of life. Now available for download, the app is the outcome of a deeply collaborative effort between students and faculty in the humanities and engineering, with support from numerous on-campus and community partners. Professor Katie Faull, German studies and comparative humanities, teamed up with electrical & computer engineering professor Stu Thompson to lead the project. The app leverages Google Maps and GPS technology to lead users on guided walking tours. As they pass landmarks along each route, it displays multimedia content about each stop while the app collects data about the distance you walked, the number of steps you took and how long your workout lasted. Faull began work on the project in collaboration with Geisinger. CONTACTS: Faull, 570-577-1289, email@example.com; Thompson, 570-577-3853, firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTROLLING HEALTH CARE COSTS: Finding ways to slow the growth in health care spending in the U.S. is an important goal, and one of the policy ideas to do that is to increase deductibles and copays for patients. The argument is that if patients have more “skin in the game” because of these out-of-pocket payments, they will be more active in finding cheaper medical care alternatives. But in order for that to work, Amy Wolaver, an economics professor and director of the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy (BIPP), says patients must be willing to shop around for lower cost alternatives, find information on prices, and make their health care decisions at least in part based on that information. But according to a recent BIPP national survey, they’re not. In the poll, just over a quarter (27.6 percent) of Americans asked about prices for medical procedures. It also raised additional questions about the willingness of consumers to even pose the question at all. CONTACT: Wolaver, 570-577-1699, email@example.com
CONTACT: Mike Ferlazzo, 570-577-3212, 570-286-6266 (c), firstname.lastname@example.org