Kean’s coveted tote bag steals the show


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By Marco Rodriguez | Published on Dec. 10, 2015

Novembers usually end with people carrying lots of bags home from retailers as they take advantage of discounts and deals in preparation for the holiday season. If you visited the Atlantic City Convention Center at the start of November however, you’d also see thousands of people walking around with bags. The bags are not just any bags; they’re Kean University’s ever-popular tote bag.

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the union representing K-12 teachers in the state, holds its annual convention every year in Atlantic City to inform and equip teachers and administrators in the state. Since teachers and administrators play a critical role in the college decision process for students, Kean and its College of Education make their presence known at the convention every year.

Such is the role that Kean plays in the convention every year that according to Susan Kayne, Vice President of University Relations for the university, Kean has become the official tote bag provider for the event. An estimated 30,000 tote bags are produced and distributed every year as the attendants make their way in to the convention center.

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Until this year, the tote bags were made of navy blue nylon with the handles of different colors to reflect a cause such as pink for breast cancer awareness or yellow for veterans. This year, however, the bags were made of environmentally friendly cotton canvas. According to Kayne, the tote bags have traveled far and wide as the university has received photos of teachers carrying the bags on the Great Wall in China, in Rome, London and on the beaches of the Caribbean.

“I believe the bag’s success is due to the fact that teachers — and everyone — like really nice freebies,” said Kayne. “Plus they come in very handy to hold all of the marketing material and giveaways provided by the exhibitors.”

Kean has been a major sponsor of the NJEA for more than a decade with the university not only giving away freebies but also hosting informational sessions. This year, the university had a booth in the exhibit hall where they promoted their graduate and undergraduate programs to teachers.

According to Kayne the booth is twofold, as the university makes sure that Kean is on top of every teacher’s minds when discussing college with students, and also to ensure that teachers are aware of graduate school programs in education for themselves.

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“Historically, Kean has its roots as a teacher’s college,” Kayne said. “Many of the teachers at NJEA are Kean alumni. We host a reception for our alumni to acknowledge their many contributions to education in New Jersey.”

Throughout the years, Kean has been a leader in the state at producing K-12 teachers. Furthermore, the 2012-2014 New Jersey Teachers of the Year have all been Kean graduates.

This year the convention was held on Nov. 5-6 and featured workshops and professional development classroom sessions for teachers and administrators. Among the featured speakers was journalist and author Dana Goldstein, whose book “The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession” is a New York Times bestseller.

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