When a need is identified on campus, like funding for sports programs or cell phone chargers in the library, Garrett's job is to match that need with a local organization that is willing and able to meet the need either through a charitable donation or by entering into a partnership with the university to advertise. Garrett makes a recommendation, and the ultimate approval and endorsement of a relationship or agreement between MNU and an outside organization is made either by the Vice President or Associate Vice President for University Advancement.
Ideally, corporate and business relationships will add value to the students' experience at MidAmerica, and advertising and donation proceeds will help to finance the dreams and goals of MNU students both now and in the future.
But those relationships aren't entered into lightly. One of the chief responsibilities of Garrett's job is to ensure that entities requesting to advertise or offering to make donations comport with MNU's Christian values and desire to develop the spiritual, moral, academic, and physical aspects of its students. For example, companies who wish to advertise alcoholic beverages or cigarettes are not welcome to advertise on the campus.
Garrett was a student of MidAmerica, his brother was an MNU student, and his wife is a Pioneer graduate, so Garrett said he and his family "bleed Pioneer colors."
"I think we always, at the core of us, a good part of why we are here as employees is because we care about the mission of this institution, which in turn gives us the heart for young people,” Garrett said.
So when Garrett recommends that a company like Quintiles be allowed to advertise on campus, it is because he's researched the organization and, in the case of Quintiles, seen that the company has done health promotions and positive things for the health industry. Garrett also toured Quintiles facilities and reported that they appear to be clean, efficient and well-staffed with nurses.
However, Garrett is only one man with limited expertise, time and resources. The ultimate choice to do business with an organization is left up to the consumer and their unique needs, their individual morality, and their own obligations (such as those outlined in the student handbook) whether that consumer is a student here at MNU, an employee of MNU, or a person who just happens to be on the campus for an event.
"We can't regulate the choices that our students do or don't make," Garrett said.
Garrett's philosophy in corporate relations seems to comport with a university philosophy of helping students become independent thinkers who do strong research.
"I think any time we have a partnership, whether that's a sponsorship, whether that's a gift of any kind from an organization or there's an opportunity for a company to be exposed to our people, we still all have free choice to make good, sound decisions as individuals,” Garrett said.