Alvernia student dining options expand to downtown Reading

Alvernia expands student dining options and promotes economic development in downtown Reading through the CollegeTowne Card program, a new partnership between the university and restaurants located in downtown Reading.

“Partnership and collaboration remain the cornerstones of the Reading CollegeTowne initiative,” said Alvernia University President John R. Loyack. “The CollegeTowne Card is a natural progression to serve the needs of our students and promote economic activity along the Penn Street corridor.”

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With the university’s Reading CollegeTowne campus, located at 401 Penn Street in downtown Reading, slated to open later this month, the university has explored partnerships to enhance the downtown student life experience for this academic year and beyond.

“When we first started to envision CollegeTowne, we talked about the students’ experience of living in and being a vital part of Reading life,” said Alvernia University Senior Vice President and Provost Glynis Fitzgerald. “As such, we made a choice not to have a dining hall in the building but instead build partnerships with local restaurants for students to experience all that Reading has to offer.”

Over 20 downtown businesses have expressed interest in the program, with formal agreements to be signed in the coming days. All profits through the program will go directly to the partners, as Alvernia is not taking any percentage of the transactions made with the CollegeTowne Card.

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“Alvernia’s relationships and partnerships within the City of Reading are paramount for Reading CollegeTowne,” said Alvernia Vice President and Chief of Staff John McCloskey. “Our faculty, staff and students are intertwined with city businesses and Reading residents in a multitude of ways. The CollegeTowne Card provides ease and convenience for our students to be everyday patrons for various restaurants and businesses, which is all part of being a comprehensive regional university experience.”

Businesses who become CollegeTowne Card partners will also receive exposure to students on-campus via traditional marketing promotions. Furthermore, they will receive two “CollegeTowne Card Accepted Here” stickers when they receive their terminal to advertise their participation in the program. Partners will also gain access to the wide-ranging business services of the O’Pake Institute’s student-powered entrepreneurial lab.

Businesses interested in participating in the CollegeTowne Card program should contact the O’Pake Institute at or 610.790.2960.

The university launched the CollegeTowne initiative in Reading in late 2019. Since its launch, Alvernia purchased a downtown location and launched a $20 million renovation and retrofitting project that has spurred six other development projects in empty or abandoned buildings that is resulted in nearly 1,000,000 sq ft of transformation in the downtown corridor. The downtown location, where the new O’Pake offerings will operate, is slated to open later this month.

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