Paul Tedeschi attended his first CollegeFest event back in 1985 when he was a student at Boston University.
Tedeschi fell in love with marketing after he attended the first ever CollegeFest event at the BU Armory. He later organized his first youth marketing company as an undergraduate student.
“I was just having fun back in the day,” Tedeschi said. “The local rock music station was involved, and I thought it was really cool, and it got me interested in marketing in general.”
If you told Tedeschi that he would still be involved with this event nearly 30 years later, he would not have believed you. Now, Tedeschi is the founder and CEO of The Campus Agency, the company responsible for acquiring CollegeFest this past October.
“I never seemed to be able to graduate from the college market,” Tedeschi said jokingly.
CollegeFest is celebrating its 29th year in Boston this Saturday, Sept. 13. Part festival and part trade show, CollegeFest is the longest running college festival in the country. The event is a one-day festival designed to welcome students across Boston and the New England area back to school by allowing them to explore their city and meet new people at an event designed specifically for students.
“We want CollegeFest to be a rite of passage in Boston,” Tedeschi said. “We’re expecting over 10,000 students from all over the city to come out, as well as UNH, UMass-Amherst, and URI.”
The event will have participants interact with over 70 different companies and brands—ranging from L.L. Bean, Uber, and The New York Times to 5-Hour Energy, the Boston Celtics, FIRE+ICE, and Spotify—who will host special offers, games, prizes, and giveaways. Students have the opportunity to win spring break trips to Puerto Rico, as well as sports tickets. In addition to the exhibitors, there will be various concerts held throughout the day with performances by BoyMeetsWorld, Danielle Prou, STL GLD, and many more.
“It’s hard to get a lot of access to brands on campus,” Tedeschi said. “There are a lot of rules and policies that prevent them from getting on campus, so this provides the brands and the students an opportunity to interact and learn more about each other.”
Since its inception in 1985, the event has been mostly held at various locations on the east coast, including Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. This year, however, the event will be held at the historic Fenway Park, sponsored by Army ROTC. The day will also be free to students for the first time, thanks to SALT, a Boston-based nonprofit that gives students financial tips for college and beyond.
“We are fortunate to have so many colleges and universities in the Boston area that attract young people from across the U.S. and around the world,” Sam Kennedy, Red Sox executive vice president and COO told The Campus Agency. “We want to make sure that students find Fenway Park accessible, and CollegeFest is a great way for them to experience the ballpark and develop a connection with the ballpark and team.”
In addition to students gaining free access to Fenway Park for the first time, the Red Sox organization will offer discounted and free tickets to college students who hail from across the New England area.
“For those who haven’t been to Fenway, this is a perfect opportunity for students,” Tedeschi said. “We are hoping to get the mayor [Martin J. Walsh, WCAS ’09] there this year, and I think we are trying to build on idea that students might want to make Boston their home someday. Hopefully CollegeFest will be a part of that. The city is involved, and we are all working together to make sure students have fun.”
Now under Tedeschi’s leadership, The Campus Agency hopes the 29-year-old CollegeFest can serve as a successful example to areas with a high concentration of college students. The organization is planning to partner with other organizations around the country.
“Markets like Philadelphia and Boston have a large concentration of students, and we hope that other cities will see that we’ve had success here, and we believe that other schools will want to host their own version of CollegeFest,” Tedeschi said.
This Saturday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., CollegeFest will market products to a group of 17,000 students from the New England area.
“I’ve been a big fan of CollegeFest over years as student participant, and now as a marketing guy this is something I’m very passionate about sharing with students,” Tedeschi said.
Featured Image Courtesy of CollegeFest