Choose 901 Encourages College Graduates To Work and Live in Memphis

After four years as a student in Memphis, many seniors consider staying in the city to start their careers. And the organization Choose 901 exists to convince them to do just that. Founded in 2012 by John Carroll, executive director of City Leadership, the campaign encourages college graduates to choose Memphis as a city to live and work. Over the past year, Rhodes has become more involved with the non-profit through the Kinney program.

“John Carroll had the goal of starting a campaign to promote all the great things about Memphis,” says Kinney co-coordinator Meagan Keller-Fowler ’13. “Choose 901 is particularly geared toward college students and recent college graduates who are going through a pivotal decision of whether or not they are going to go somewhere else or stay in Memphis after graduation. Basically, Choose 901 exists to promote Memphis as a city where people should and want to stay.”

Last year, Keller-Fowler and her co-coordinator Catherine Carlile ’13 met with Carroll and Rhodes Community Service Coordinator Anthony Siracusa to discuss ways to bring the Rhodes community into the movement. The 901 campaign, named for Memphis’ area code, also established “Choose 901 Day” on September 1 (9/01). While other Choose 901 events were happening all over Memphis, Kinney coorfinators held a Choose 901 Day on campus to promote various volunteer opportunities around the city.

In addition to hosting the Choose 901 Day event, Carlile and Keller-Fowler printed Choose 901 t-shirts, hoping to spark more conversation about the campaign, and Rhodes students have appeared in advertisements for the campaign.

Although Choose 901 works closely with students at local colleges and universities, it also aims to recruit college grads from around the country to move to Memphis. The “I’m New to 901” section of their website offers tips on everything from how to get a Tennessee driver’s license to finding out trash pickup schedules. Carlile says that for Rhodes students, the site can be especially helpful with making the transition off campus and into the city after graduation.

“There is something for everyone in Memphis, and Choose 901 helps people to know what resources and opportunities exist in this city,” adds Carlile. “Memphis is a place that is very accepting of people of all ages and interests, and I think Choose 901 really promotes that.”

Both Carlile and Keller-Fowler, who plan to stay in Memphis as a Teach For America corps member, say that they hope to see the relationship between Rhodes and Choose 901 grow in the future.

“Choose 901 really hypes up all things ‘Memphis’, and I think in its own way, Rhodes really does that too,” says Keller-Fowler. “There is a lot of collaboration that could exist there, and we really encourage the Rhodes community to get involved.”

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(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Lucy Kellison ’13)