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Eagle Made: Alumni-Owned Businesses Come to Campus

Entrepreneurial Eagles partner with AU to share their products with the campus community.

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Lara Lozser and Marna Schneid, two Eagle Made vendors, with their products

American University has a diverse and talented network of more than 150,000 alumni who are changemakers and pioneers across many fields. In October 2023, the “Eagle Made” program was launched to establish partnerships with a group of entrepreneurial Eagles and bring their products to the campus community.

Initially imagined by Mike Scher, assistant vice president of campus auxiliary services, and Raina Lenney, former assistant vice president of alumni relations, the idea evolved into a campus-wide effort to support alumni-owned businesses. Team members from student affairs, auxiliary services, university advancement, and others partnered to make the Eagle Made program a reality.

The first four vendors—Hummus Goodness, MarnaRoons, Snacklins, and Viridian Tea Company—are on board, and their products are currently for sale in campus retail outlets. Chartwells, AU’s food service provider, purchases the products for resale and manages the business relationships with each company.

In the Eagle Express Convenience Store and East Campus Market, the products are indicated by “Eagle Made” signage featuring campus mascot Clawed Z. Eagle. Marcus Gore, a designer for University Communications and Marketing, created this iteration of Clawed especially for promoting items as part of this unique program.

The hope is that the beloved mascot draws attention to the Eagle Made products, raising awareness of the program and increasing sales. “Clawed is very approachable, ” Scher explains. “We’ve been really pleased with the reception so far of these products, and our team is working hard to optimize the product mix so the program is successful.”

Along with being sold on campus, the products are also featured through tastings and tabling at university events. The program was launched during Family Weekend 2023 and recently featured at the spring Women in Leadership Breakfast and Latino Alumni Alliance Brunch.

As a dining service partner for many colleges and universities, Chartwells piloted this alumni collaboration at AU. Noting the success of the program so far, Chartwells is looking to implement it on other campuses nationwide.

There are also plans to expand the program at AU. While maintaining the partnership with the initial four vendors, there is capacity to incorporate more alumni businesses. And, depending on the products, community members may also see and taste them in the new Terrace Dining Room next fall.

“We are working with the vendors, depending on where they are at in the stage of their evolution as a company,” Scher says. “We’re buying at their stated rate, to bring in a product that matches the price profile of the student body.” 

Scher encourages alumni entrepreneurs to share information about their companies and products for consideration.