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A Beautiful Friendship: TLU Invites Local Businesses to Become Bulldog Buddies

The Texas Lutheran University Bulldog Buddies Program is a partnership between the university and local businesses—and like all good friendships, it goes both ways. Seguin-area businesses offer special discounts or promotions to TLU students, faculty, and staff holding valid ID cards, and in return, TLU helps to promote those businesses across campus and guide customers to them.

First established in 2011, the program was created to encourage the TLU community to get off campus and shop local—whether looking for a salon, a car repair shop, a boutique, a hot cup of coffee, or a great restaurant. Meanwhile, local shops, restaurants, and services would tap into a great source of new customers. A winning concept, but for some time now, the program has been gathering dust—that is, until recently.

The impetus to relaunch Bulldog Buddies came out of Dr. William O’Brochta’s political science course, prompting outreach to the university’s marketing division, which, as it happened, was in the process of reviewing the program. “TLU political science courses are focused on helping students in their journey to become engaged citizens,” says O’Brochta, Assistant Professor of Political Science. “In this case, students were asked to identify a problem in the local community, to research that problem and talk to stakeholders, and then to take one small step toward addressing the problem.”

While speaking with a business owner, sociology major Andrew Vargas identified the need for more of a connection between TLU and local businesses. He was joined by classmates Jessica Alvarez, Tom Crisp, Emma Oberle, and Angel Salazar. While the group had heard of Bulldog Buddies, they began to conceptualize ways to improve the program.

“I saw a sign advertising the program at a local business, and I wondered how to utilize it,” says Alvarez, an elementary education major. The group researched the origin of Bulldog Buddies, spoke with business owners, and developed a proposal to relaunch the program to be more visible to students and to business partners.

The proposal includes such ideas as creating improved signage for businesses who join the program so that they’re easy for patrons to identify, creating and distributing a map showing where

Buddies are located, facilitating a TLU Night in downtown Seguin that would bring students off campus to get acquainted with the local community, and hosting a business fair, where Buddies can come to campus and show off their wares.

The students also proposed various ways to increase awareness of the program around campus, like handing out flyers, hanging posters in campus hubs, and sending reminders in newsletters.

Crisp, a mathematics education major said, “The group is especially excited about the possibility of holding events on campus to highlight our business partners and to make students aware of all of the opportunities available in Seguin.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing the Bulldog Buddies program being relaunched, and I look forward to helping facilitate the successful implementation of future student ideas,” says O’Brochta.

Participating businesses proudly bear the Bulldog Buddy seal so that customers can easily find them. TLU also maintains a current list of Bulldog Buddies on its website and regularly promotes those businesses across campus and in student materials. There is no cost to businesses to participate in the Bulldog Buddies Program. Contact Karina Garner ( or Johanna Johnson ( to join!