May 10, 2016

GOP convention to impact Cleveland State students

By Becky Byron

The Republican National Convention (RNC) is making its way to Cleveland this July and downtown businesses and apartment buildings are preparing themselves for the crowds, including the Cleveland State University residence halls.

Planners expect the RNC will draw more than 50,000 people between delegates, media, police and convention staffers. The event promises to bring a massive influx in business to the already hectic summer season in downtown Cleveland.

“We are preparing by hiring extra servers, bussers, food-runners, kitchen staff and hosts,” says Amanda Guzowski, bar manager of Zocalo Mexican Grill and Tequileria on East 4th Street. “We’re paying a higher-than-normal wage during the RNC because we will hopefully be doing more of a buffet-style service for private parties who rent out the restaurant and there is likely to be less tipping to our staff.”

Many restaurants like Zocalo will be extending their hours and changing their reservation policies to accommodate the larger volume of customers.

“I will be working a lot later than I’m used to,” says Hannah White, a bartender at Zocalo and junior social work student at Cleveland State. “Instead of closing at midnight like we usually do, we will be open until at least 2:30 a.m. or later for more walk-ins. Some of the other bars on the street will be open until 4:00 a.m.”

Along with restaurants and retail spaces, local apartment buildings are setting up spaces for convention goers. Six Six Eight, an apartment complex on Euclid Avenue near East 4th Street, is facilitating sublets for its tenants.

“It's inconvenient enough to navigate downtown traffic just for a Cavs game so I can't imagine how difficult it'll be when the RNC is in town,” says Jill Seifert, tenant at Six Six Eight.  “As cool as it would be to witness all the history unfolding, it'll be even cooler to get almost double my monthly rent in just one week and save myself a headache.”

Six Six Eight is setting up the sublease agreements, insuring belongings for tenants, and finding people to stay there during the convention. All tenants have to do is vacate the apartment.

Cleveland State marketing and graphic design student Kevin Moran is planning on putting his off-campus apartment on AirBnB.com, a popular website for finding and posting short-term sublets. He is expecting to make at least $2,000 for the week.

“I’m going to be spending my summer in New York City for an internship anyway, so I need to find someone to stay in my room or find a way to pay the rent for when I’m not there,” Moran said. “My roommate and I did some research, and, we are expecting to make at least two months rent on AirBnB.com for just the week of the convention.”

Cleveland State is getting in on the action as well by reportedly promising more than 650 rooms in the residence halls to the convention.

Claire Rahm, associate vice president of the Division of Student Affairs, confirms that Cleveland State has indeed made official agreements to offer housing in both Fenn Tower and Euclid Commons.

In an email announcement on April 25, the iniversity said that summer term classes will not be interrupted by the convention activities, but strongly suggested that students leave extra travel time and consider alternate routes to come downtown during that week.




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