Truman High School students recently learned a plan they suggested is about to be realized.
A Friday discount program for borough students at several Mall at Bay Plaza retailers was started after students from Truman voiced their concerns about the affordability of the shopping center to Councilman Andy King.
King reached out to the mall operator, Prestige Properties and Development, and received a swift response that resulted in the creation of a student promotional program.
The Discount Fridays promotion was put into motion by a Truman speech and communication class that is part of a dual enrollment program with Monroe College.
King was asked about the mall on the BronxNet television program BronxTalk, hosted by their teacher Gary Axelbank, who works at the college.
“One of the issues that came up (when we were preparing questions) was that they wanted to talk about Bay Plaza,” said Axelbank.
During the show, Axelbank and the students took a call from King announcing that as a result of their activism, student discounts were being initiated at the mall on Fridays.
“They were extremely happy by the fact that their voices were heard, they were respected and (that) an action was done by the people responsible for making it happen,” said King.
Any borough student who shows their school identification at participating stores is eligible for the discounts offered by each individual retailer, said King.
Fridays were chosen because students participating in the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program have that day off, explained King.
The councilman believes that the students got a real life lesson on the power of advocacy.
“For these young people, their voices and the conversation made a difference, and it did not take that long,” said the councilman, adding “If they are willing to commit to a conversation and an action, things can change.”
The councilman said that the students wish to expand the program.
After King presented the idea, Prestige Properties reached out to retailers, said company spokeswoman Maranda Askar, director of mall management and marketing.
“We thought it was a great idea, so we in turn reached out the all our stores in the mall and asked them to participate in this worthwhile program,” said Askar. “Not all of the stores are participating, but as the program progresses, we hope that more will join in.”
Students can go to guest services in the Mall at Bay Plaza to get updates on which stores are participating.
The following retailers at the Mall at Bay Plaza are currently participating: Frozen Peaks, Sbarro, House of Samsonite, Specs New York, Sprint, Cohen’s Fashion Optical, Michael Kors, Joe’s Crab Shack, Candyland, Piercing Pagoda, Vistasite Eye Care, Nathan’s, Gap, VIP Bodies, Famous Footwear, Monsoon Accessorize, U.S. Polo Association and Clarks.