Chapman has contributed $43.5 million to the city of Orange since 2010, and the yearly economic impact of the university on Orange County is about $202,481,785, according to a report released by the university in January.
This figure includes university expenditures, student expenditures, the impact of sales tax on the local government and “education cost savings,” according to a 2009 study by Chapman’s A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research.
“I feel like the residents sometimes may have good reason to dislike Chapman students for the things they choose to do outside of class, but they forget how pivotal we are in the economy,” said Bayley McKenzie, a freshman business administration major.
According to the 2009 study, a university survey found that 1,398 students said that they would have attended a public university if they had not chosen to attend Chapman. Using figures from the California Department of Finance, the study calculated that because of this, Orange County taxpayers saved about $1,160,510 in state taxes in 2009.
Jack Raubolt, vice president of community relations, said that his biggest goal was to show that the university is integrated into the community.
“We’re not just a university sitting in the middle of their city,” Raubolt said. “It was a good way to show the neighborhood that we are a viable part of this community and how much we try to be good neighbors.”
Raubolt believes that in the three weeks it has been published, the Community Impact Report has been successful in informing Orange residents that the university has improved the welfare of the city.
Alisa Driscoll, the communications and operations manager of the Chapman Office of Community Relations, agreed.
“There are so many facets of what the university does that so many people might not know about. It’s really just showing the community that we’re here and making a positive contribution, and making sure that they’re aware of that,” Driscoll said.
However, not all residents reacted to the report like Raubolt might have hoped. Adam Duberstein, the founder of citizen group Respect Orange, said that when he sent the information out to members of his foundation, he received mostly negative responses.
Duberstein said that some of the respondents criticized the fact that the piece does not depict the negative impacts of the university, like congestion, parking and quality of life.
“The overall consensus by a number of people was that the piece looked a little fluffy,” Duberstein said.
Raubolt and Driscoll began working on the report, which is called “Interwoven,” in March 2016 and continued their research into September. They worked with Chapman’s Financial Services office, the Campus Sustainability manager, Student Affairs, University Advancement, the Property Management director, Sodexo and the Hilbert Museum to compile information about the university’s effects on the community.
Raubolt is now attending meetings with service organizations, nonprofits and Orange City Council members to gradually inform the city of Orange on the impact of the university.
“There are lots of things in it that they didn’t realize, or things that they did realize but they don’t think we talk enough about,” Raubolt said.