Volume 92, Issue 16

Wednesday, September 30, 1998

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Long distance relationship

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

Western recently signed on with ACC for another three years of one long distance company exclusively advertising on campus.

The university's original three-year deal with the company expired last September but extension provisions within the contract allowed it to continue until this summer's signing.

"It is an affinity arrangement that grants ACC exclusive rights to sell long distance discount services on campus," said Jim Walden, general manager of the University Students' Council. "As a result, we get a royalty paid as a percentage of calls made under the agreement."

Walden said forming exclusive contracts or affinity arrangements such as this prove advantageous because of the return they can yield for students. "You can establish an affinity agreement and get something or don't and get nothing," he said.

Money raised from this agreement in the past has been used to provide better internet services to students dialing in from home to the university. "I believe they're the best deal," Walden said.

Bev Greene, executive assistant to Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, said all the money coming from long distance calls made by students on the ACC plan goes to the University Students' Council. "Affinity agreements are one important revenue-generating source for constituents who work and study here. It is a significant little pot of money," she said.

USC President Ian Armour said the exclusive deal with ACC is pretty straightforward. "ACC gets more business which means more revenue for the university and the USC – the more people they sign up, the more money we get," he said.

Deals such as this are win-win situations, said Lesley Cox, affinity program coordinator for ACC. "As we sign the agreement we are giving back to the school as well. As of January 1998 [Western has received] over half a million dollars over a four-year period," she said.

The fact the school benefits from this agreement persuades a lot of students to sign on, she added. "A lot of students at Western are very loyal to their school, this helps us out."

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Copyright The Gazette 1998