Quinnipiac alum creates University Elite

Cassie Comeau

Quinnipiac students can now save money in restaurants, bars, and other businesses in Hamden with the benefits of University Elite.

University Elite was created by Quinnipiac MBA students Matt Goddard and Vinny Santorella and offers discounts and deals on a wide variety of local businesses and events for a select number of Quinnipiac students.

“[University Elite is] like a support system,” Goddard said. “[It’s] a means for students to get involved, whether it be on campus, off campus, and you do different things and you’re really having the best college lifestyle you can have. That’s kind of the reason we wanted to do it, just to help students have that ultimate college experience.”

For $39 per semester, students can sign up online (www.universityelite.com) and get access to the three types of services that University Elite provides: travel services, discounts from local businesses and private events. Membership includes deals at Ray and Mike’s, Whitney Bar and Grille, Ixtapa, Bread and Chocolate, David Dio Hair Salon, and more. Organized trips to places such as Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino are also offered.

“It’s going to be just for Quinnipiac students,” Goddard said. “The way we’re pitching it right now is that it’s exclusive, so not everyone can sign up for it. Only a certain amount of students will be able to sign up, making offers better because it’s only available for certain numbers of students,” Goddard said. “But if this is encouragingly successful, we may be looking to expand to other universities down the road.”

University Elite is on a first-come, first-served basis, with the first 300 students who sign up being entered into a drawing for the chance to win an iPad 2.

After six months of researching, talking with professors and sitting down one-on-one with businesses, Goddard and Santorella sketched out a plan and started promoting their company via Facebook, Twitter, and by word of mouth.

After receiving positive feedback, Goddard and Santorella are confident that their business will expand and go beyond offering just discounts and organized events.

“We have a few different ideas as far as what we want to bring to the table,” Goddard said. “Right now it’s kind of the social aspect, going out, having a good time, having all these opportunities, but we also want to do educational opportunities.”

These educational opportunities would include workshops on various topics such as using Microsoft PowerPoint, how to make a presentation and how to properly conduct oneself in an interview.

“There’s a lot of steps involved,” Goddard said. “It’s interesting to see because what you learn in the classroom is definitely a little bit different than real life experience.”