Uniting 200 national Brand Ambassadors through Culture and Brand: The new Culture Book for the Packback Brand Ambasador Program

Learn how Packback used brand, design and culture to guide and inspire over 200 student Brand Ambassadors at over 70 campuses across the country.

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When we launched the Packback Brand Ambassasdor Program last spring, we believed that the most challenging part of starting a program like this would be recruiting interested students. Little did we know that in just three months, we would have nearly 2000 student applications pour in, alongside passionate letters explaining how much they connected with the Packback mission and story! To our surprise, our biggest challenge was not recruiting, but rather managing and inspiring a quickly-growing and diverse team of remote Ambassadors.

The Challenge

As we added more Brand Ambassadors to our program, we were faced with the challenge of making every Ambassador at our 70 campuses around the country feel connected to the Packback team here in Chicago, while keeping everyone working towards the same mission of helping college students get more out of their education while spending less. We now have selected over 200 of the country’s most driven, innovative and entrepreneurial students to be a part of the Packback Brand Ambassador Program, and wanted to find a way to guide their efforts without creating rigid guidelines that stifled their own creativity and their role as an on-campus entrepreneur for Packback.

Our Solution

As a deeply design-focused start-up, we knew the solution to unifying, inspiring and guiding our scattered national team would be through a strong and well-communicated brand. This weekend, we released a new Culture Book that introduces new Ambassadors to the program, our team, and our company’s mission, while celebrating and highlighting some of the incredible, entrepreneurial student leaders that are current Packback Brand Ambassadors.

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Above: A few spreads from our newly released Brand Ambassador Program Culture Book

Branding the Brand Ambassador Program

Before we ever approached the task of crafting a Culture Book, we focused on defining the brand for the Ambassador Program in a way that would fit with the larger Packback Brand (in tone, messaging and visuals) but would still have its own unique personality. One of the critical elements of this strategy was our creation of a Badge for the Brand Ambassador Program that would be worn only by our Active and Lead Stage Ambassadors, giving a sense belonging and unity between campuses.

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Above: The Brand Ambassador Program Badge

To quote Wally Ollins from Debbie Millman’s book, Brand Thinking;

"Branding is a profound manifestation of the human condition. It is about belonging: belonging to a tribe, to a religion, to a family. Branding demonstrates that sense of belonging. It has this function for both the people who are part of the same group and also for the people who don’t yet belong." -Wally Ollins

About Packback

Packback is a student-founded and student-focused company focused on helping college students get more out of their education, while spending less. We are the first company to ever offer on-demand One-Day eTextbook Rentals for $5 or less per day. We are passionate about helping students take control over their education and giving them tools to make the best decisions about textbooks. Because of this, we created a Price Comparison Engine that compares prices from every top textbook retailer, including Packback, to ensure students never overpay for a textbook again.

We think an education should give students a better future…not a lifetime of debt. Packback and our Brand Ambassadors are leading a national student movement for textbook affordability. Interested in becoming a Packback Ambassador? Apply here!

Want to read the Packback Brand Ambassador Program Culture Book? Get it here!

Where will Packback be in 5 years?

by Lisette Avila
Loyola University Packback Brand Ambassador

    I recently watched Packback’s episode on the TV show Shark Tank and I kept thinking, wow, this seems like a very cut-throat competition with all the questions the sharks kept throwing at co-founders Kasey and Mike. The fact that Kasey and Mike were able to think quickly on their feet and respond with great answers to everything they were asked, shows how passionate and motivated they are about Packback. It is that passion that is necessary for a startup to continue to grow and that is why I think the company has excellent potential for spreading to more schools and expanding their textbook offerings.

    While other companies offer e-books rentals, they are still not worth their price at all in my opinion, due to the fact that textbooks are not needed for the entire semester. This past spring semester, I rented an e-book only to do a few homework problems and never used it for the rest of the semester. Now that a lot of information for many subjects are available online for free, I see the demand for hardcover textbooks and semester e-book rentals decreasing in upcoming years. Packback’s pay per use e-book model is truly revolutionary especially right now when everything is becoming digital.

    Packback has made incredible progress since it was founded a couple years ago, that is why believe that five years from now Packback will be a name recognized at colleges and universities everywhere. Gaining Mark Cuban as an investor from the Shark Tank episode also shows that he sees all the potential the company has to grow even though others have said it would be difficult to gain deals with more textbook publishers. Packback has already grown in a short amount of time from being just an idea that college students had, to having a space at 1871 with other startup companies, to moving to Catapult Chicago with startups in the growth stage, and now to their office in downtown Chicago. All that progress shows that Packback has unbelievable potential for changing the way students learn and buy textbooks.


To learn more about how to save BIG on textbooks, visit www.packbackbooks.com!


University of Tennesse vs. Oklahoma Sooners

by Travis Whaley
University of Tennessee Brand Ambassador

It’s football time in Tennessee! Attention all Tennessee Volunteer fans! On Saturday, September 18th, the University of Tennessee kicked off as they visited the Oklahoma Sooners. And if you’re a Vol fan, the game ended in not-so-good fashion as the Tennessee Vols got outscored 34-10 by the Oklahoma Sooner offense. Now let’s get down to it.

Ok….So we took one under the chin at Oklahoma! That’s ok. Oklahoma is a real good team. We’re gonna bounce back for SEC play. The Volunteer offense definitely has their work cut out for them going into next week. There are many mixed opinions around campus right now about the offensive performance versus Oklahoma.

"If we’re going to run the spread offense, we need to be able to have a quarterback who is a dual threat," said Vol fan Marcus Bragg. "Right now we’re too basic with our play calling. Wurley has to make the defense honor him with his running ability. Otherwise they won’t see him as a threat and key-in on our running backs."

Although there have been some critiques of the Tennessee offense, there are some who are still optimistic for the rest of the orange and white season. “I’m excited that we have a coach who is committed to bringing tradition that we can build on here at UT,” said Tonya Simmons. “UT football is the heart beat of East Tennessee and as a Freshman, I am looking forward to many more years of success for Coach Jones.”

Tennessee has a bye week this upcoming weekend, but will enter into conference play on Sept 27 as they go on the road to face the Georgia Bulldogs. Let’s bring a ‘W’ back to K-Town! Go Vols!​

To learn more about how to save BIG on textbooks, visit www.packbackbooks.com!


by Molly Morrison
Loyola University Packback Brand Ambassador

Clichés are considered clichés because while overused, they are the phrases and life lessons that are extremely true, at least 99% of the time. Time heals all, treat people how you want to be treated, you know them. One of the most prominent clichés in the lives of college students is change. Change, while often unexpected, can be a great thing. We experience change daily, just in different variations. We faced major change in making the choice to go to college. From the moment we received that one acceptance letter, the one we checked for 87 times a day between nervous trips to our mailboxes and frantic logins to online portals.

For me, change surfaced out of nowhere nine days before I was supposed to leave for school. The plan was to fly to Chicago with my mom, she would help me move in, then squeeze me goodbye and head home to sunny San Diego. That’s one cliché I never got to live. On a regular Sunday morning, my mom took a phone call from a school in Chicago. Two hours later, she accepted a job from a school in Chicago. Nine days notice. Nine days notice to say goodbye to a life I figured would always be waiting for me over Christmas breaks and summer vacations. Instead what awaited was a 39 hour drive in a bulky Uhaul truck, with an eight-foot tow carrying our car. 2,075.06 miles later, it was ten days of hotels and house hunting. Five neighborhoods later, we settled on a cozy condo that resembled more of a tree house in Vernon Hills. My mom left our 16 year home in San Diego so she could better support my college education. That meant a long distance marriage and a very spread out family. We were placed in the hands of change. It hasn’t been easy, but it was a necessary change given our financial predicament. College was no casual expense for my family, especially after sending 3 boys to school before me. I worked three different jobs for a year to help my parents with tuition. I applied for two scholarships a week on countless websites, sold clothes to any thrift shops that would take them, and gave up Saturday nights to be a nanny.

This kind of story, my story, seems to be increasingly common amongst current college students. While there is absolutely value in understanding the value of a dollar earned, there is an inescapable stress associated with our education. The nights we can’t sleep because we have no idea how we’re going to make x amount of dollars to afford school next year. The sudden moments we remember we signed a literal life-binding contract to be in debt to our university. The yearly emails we receive about tuition rates increasing by 3.5%. I personally believe that my school is worth every dollar I’m spending. Yes, there are times when I feel physically sick and utterly lost, trying to figure out what I’m going to sacrifice or what else I can do to help my parents pay for school, but I also know I’m extremely fortunate to be able to make a four year university possible at all, no matter how hard. And change, in our increasingly modern world, is looking to be on our side.

The continued evolution of technology paired with the increasing price tags of universities around the country have made for huge opportunities. Startup companies have made a dominant presence in the last five years, successful organizations blossoming from simple ideas or solutions. As a new brand ambassador for Packback, I am already incredibly passionate about the mission and purpose of this company. Packback is at the forefront of the digital textbook industry, with a revolutionary rental system designed to cater to the specific needs of their customers. This rapidly growing startup company is on a mission to make your college education more affordable. It is time for America’s education system to re-evaluated. Time for a change. If tuition rates continue to increase, in twenty years it will cost close to $100,000 a year to send our children to college. There has to be a ceiling for the price of a college degree. A certain point where both kids and parents will be left with no choice but to say “a diploma is not worth this amount of debt, stress, or money.” Packback was built by college students, on a mission to be a part of this change.

Your story might be a lot like my story. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But I feel confident in assuming that we are both looking to make the cost of our education more reasonable. So join me. Join Packback. Join us in being part of the solution. Part of the change. Part of the cliché. We’d love to have you on our team.


To learn more about how to save BIG on textbooks, visit www.packbackbooks.com!

Going Away to School: Out of State Edition

by Maureen Feeney
Packback Brand Ambassador, Rutger’s University

When I told people that I chose to go to Rutgers University in New Jersey (I’m from Illinois, btw), most people thought I was crazy for committing to a school that is twelve hours away. If I said I wasn’t nervous about it I would be lying. I tried not to show it to people but I was definitely nervous and a little scared. I committed to Rutgers knowing no one on campus. I’m proud to say that I’m the first person from my high school to go there and I have never regretted my decision.

College is a big change regardless of how far away it is. A big help in adjusting is to meet people on your floor.  When the housing assignments came out, someone made a page for my building and people started posting what room they were in. Shortly after I said my room number, I got a friend request and a message on Facebook form a girl that was going to be living a few doors down from me. We started talking about how excited we were to move in and start college. I’m so happy that she reached out to me because around Thanksgiving we ended up becoming roommates and she is now one of my best friends.

I have always been a pretty independent person so I knew I wouldn’t get homesick too much but the worst homesickness came when a bunch of my friends were on fall break the same weekend. I realized that my friends can see each other whenever since they are so close but that when I see them, our time spent together will be much more meaningful since it won’t happen often.

First semester I didn’t join many organizations on campus. I went to a few meetings of different clubs but didn’t click with any of the organizations. Second semester I joined the Out of State Student Organization and fell in love. It’s really cool to have a group of people that know what it’s like to be away from home. I’m really excited to see the club grow (last year was it’s first year!) and to hopefully convince more out of state kids to come to Rutgers.

For some people, not being able to go home whenever they want may be a downside. Freshmen year, I went home 3 times: Thanksgiving, Winter break, and Spring break. That was fine with me because I knew that I wanted to enjoy my four years in college as much as I possibly can because it will be graduation before I know it. When I do get to go home, I make the most of my time there. I hang out with friends, have some delicious home cooked food, and spend time with family. I like to think of college as a trial for when I graduate and move away from home.

While going twelve hours away from home might not be the most convenient at times, I am beyond happy with my school choice. I have some pretty amazing friends at school that remind me of why I love Rutgers.  I can’t wait until I move back in at the end of August and start school again!

Tips for Landing the Perfect Internship

By Lisette Avila
Loyola University Packback Brand Ambassador

Internships are a great way for college students to get their foot in the door and hopefully figure out what kind of job they want after graduation. If you’re not sure whether you picked the right major, an internship is a good learning strategy to see what exactly it is that you want out of your future career. But how does one land the internship of their dreams? Here are a few tips to turn your dream into a reality!

First start by updating your resume. If you don’t have prior work experience, it’s a good idea to include relevant coursework in your resume. For example, if you are a marketing major, including class projects where you created a marketing strategy for a company or conducted a market research survey can help you stand out from other students applying for the same internship. It shows your future employer that you have prior knowledge and are passionate about the position you are applying for as it applies to your major.

Another good internship practice is to create and/or update your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool for business professionals. This can also help you get noticed based on the work experience and skills you list on your profile. Many job recruiters turn to LinkedIn to find the perfect candidate. It is also a great way to keep in touch with business professionals or past professors you have had. Speaking of professors, they are also a great resource for internship knowledge. Many professors love hearing about students’ future career plans and are more often than not happy to review a resume or write a letter of recommendation if needed.  

Building off having a strong LinkedIn profile and keeping in touch with professors, networking is extremely important. Going to career fairs at your school are a great way to meet future employers. It may seem like a lot of effort to have to get dressed up and print multiple copies of your resume, but it is definitely worth it! People will give you their business cards and it is important to keep them and connect with those people on LinkedIn because it shows you have initiative and are motivated to land the internship you really want and maybe even a full time job.

Once you’re in the part of your college career where internships are an essential part of getting a full time job, it may make you very nervous to embark on this next chapter of your life. It is important to be confident when interviewing for an internship and to have a strong argument for why you are a worthy candidate, so just relax and be yourself!

Now that you’ve learned more about landing the perfect internship, look no further than Packback! Apply to be a Packback Brand Ambassador and be a part of the best team of students across the country bringing affordable textbook options to students everywhere!

To learn more about how to save BIG on textbooks, visit www.packbackbooks.com!

How to Avoid Gaining the ‘Freshman 15’

by Maureen Feeney
Rutgers University Brand Ambassador

As fun and exciting it is to go away to college, I’m sure you’ve heard the warnings from your parents or older friends about the dreaded “Freshmen 15”.  It’s easy to get carried away in the dining hall when it’s all you-can-eat with so many different options (both healthy and not!). With classes, studying, homework, and club meetings, it can be easy to fall off of the workout band wagon, but don’t worry I’m here to share my tips for how to avoid the Freshmen 15!

 1. Set up a gym date with friends

My friends and I went to the gym at 3:15 on Fridays after everyone was done with class. Having a set time makes it hard to skip a workout, not to mention the fact that your friends will hold you accountable! Plus who doesn’t want to workout while chatting with friends?

 2. Join intramurals or the club team

If you were involved in sports in high school, chances are you’ll miss that in college. Most colleges offer a wide range of both club sports and intramurals. Club sports let you compete against other colleges and even travel to another state (My roommate got to visit Virginia Beach for a field hockey tournament!). If you just want to stay on campus then check out intramurals. Grab some friends and make a team, and you’ll get to have fun and be active at the same time.

 3. Eating fruits/ vegetables at every meal

I know, I probably sound like your mom right now, but having fruits            or veggies is a great way to ensure you’re always eating something      healthy even if the rest of your meal is pizza. A great tip is to eat the        fruits and veggies first so that you don’t forget to eat them or become too full.    

4. Remember: the dining hall menu repeats itself

Don’t think that today will be the last day that the dining hall will have chicken fingers. If you’re school is anything like mine, the menu repeats itself constantly. (I’m pretty sure fajitas or tacos were served every Tuesday second semester at Rutgers.) It’s okay to skip the chicken finger line every other time it’s there and choose something a little healthier; you’ll enjoy them more if you eat them less frequently.

 5. Keep healthy snacks in your room

I’m all for having chips for a snack but I found that when I had chips or a granola bar as a snack option in my room, I was more likely to go for the chips. Whenever you run to Target or the grocery store for snacks, try to get healthier options. Try baked chips instead of fried or grab a container of hummus to dip pretzels in. I loved grabbing a clementine to snack on because they’re sweet but healthy (plus easy to eat in class). If you are going to eat something unhealthy for a late night snack, put it in a bowl so that you don’t end up mindlessly eating the whole bag, you’ll probably regret that snack once you realize how much you ate.

 6. Get outside

There is a pretty high chance that you’ll know someone who has a soccer ball, football, frisbee, etc, otherwise your school’s rec center probably has some that you can borrow/check out with your Student ID. When it’s a nice day out, grab some friends and go play a quick soccer game for fun outside. Even if it’s just a 20 minute game, that’s 20 minutes of exercise that you’re getting, plus it’s fun!

 Follow these simple tips and you won’t have to worry about gaining the dreaded ‘Freshman 15’, and instead you can make great memories with friends while staying healthy and active!


To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

Packback Team Spotlight: Martin Vitek!

Martin Vitek is a senior studying business at DePaul University in Chicago. After coming here as an international student from the Czech Republic, Martin was an early member of the Packback team as an intern. Known for his abilities to “hustle” and get anything done, he quickly moved up through the Packback ranks and managed a few teams of Brand Ambassadors as a Campus Marketing Manager, along with the student groups that Packback sponsors.


1. How did you get started with Packback?

    I have started working with Packback in November of the year 2013. It was just a small team of 5 people in the office back then: Kasey, Mike, Karl, Deepak and Kim. We were working in a small cubicle, which was supposed to serve only 3 people that ended up being shared by 5 sometimes by 7 people in the same time. We grew from that small team of 10 people to the team of about 500 including all the brand ambassadors around the United States in just half a year. And how did I get the job that was always as with everything just luck. I was looking at a time for internship in order to complete my college credit and the DePaul University sent me a newsletter regarding this opportunity. I turned down a paid internship in a real estate company and became a campus marketing manager and I have been part of Packback ever since.

    2. 3 adjectives to describe what it’s been like working with Packback

    Flexible, Exciting, Challenging

    3. If you won the lottery worth $1 million, what would you buy?

    First I would have to tax it; therefore, from the $1 million I would be left with circa $650 000. I would buy properties in developing areas of Chicago worth all together about $400 000. I would invest $150 000 into 3 start-ups and remaining money I would invest in my post graduate education and living expenses.

    4. What do you enjoy the most about being a college student?

    I enjoy the most the opportunity to create something splendid while still having the opportunity to fail without taking any major hit to me or to my family. If I fail now I am not going to hurt any people but me; however, if I fail down the line when I have my own family, children that are dependent on me that scenario could be disastrous.

    5. Tell more about Fundchaser

    My business is called Fundchaser and we provide aspiring crowdfunding campaigns with consultation services as well with contacts that will help them utilize their newfound fame and get as much as they can from their crowdfunding experience. Currently we are running a Kickstarter campaign: “From Czech to Chicago, Creativity Transcends Borders”, which is bringing Czech art from small village to grandiose city of Chicago in order to show of the Czech creativity and collaborate with local artists and to leave an impact by organizing a one of a kind show. More information you can find under this link: http://kck.st/1o23fk1. Please consider backing and spread the word, there are only 24 days left!


    Packback Brand Ambassador Spotlight: Austin Helms!

    Meet Austin Helms, a Junior who’s studying business at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and is very interested in entrepreneurship. Austin joined the Packback Team in the middle of the summer and has already WOWed us in his efforts of spreading the word in his campus. Read more to learn more about him!

    1. How did you get started with Packback?

    My story with Packback started when I first saw the Shark Tank episode. When my roommate and I were watching the episode last spring I became a supporter. Then this summer I was emailed by Kenan-Flagler Business School, which notified me that Packback was hiring. Applying for the position never crossed my mind, Packback had me from hello (or Shark Tank).

    2. Where do you see Packback in the next 10 years?

    In 10 years I see Packback becoming a name that is known by every college student. When you think textbooks you think Packback. Also, I see prices being decreased to 3 dollars or less, with increased users the price will become “The” place to rent books.

    3. If you could have dinner with one person in history, dead or alive, who would it be?

    I’m a Tar Heel, which usually correlates to loving basketball. Those two things have shaped me into the person I am today. With that being said, I would love the opportunity to have dinner with Michael Jordan.

    4. What’s your dream career?

    Currently my dream career is to own multiple businesses dealing with real estate, automotive car, and entertainment (marketing company that focused on commercials).

    I am in the process of writing a book on my college journey. I began writing when I graduated high school, June 2012. The book is targeted to future college students, and it is currently in blog format. When I graduate I plan to publish the book and take a year to give book talks around the US.

    5. Share 1 of your funniest/most embarrassing moments

    I have dressed up as a girl more than once for Halloween. Both times have been award winning. 6th grade I won a church competition, and first year of college I dressed up as Tinkerbell and was featured in a local newspaper.

    Going Away To School: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

    By Drew Schroeder
    Arizona State Packback Brand Ambassador

               Many friends have warned me about going away to school; They talk about how little they get to see their families, the terrible process of moving back and forth between home and school on breaks, and worst of all, they have to do their own laundry.

                None of this has ever phased me. Since I was six years old I wanted to get as far away from my home as possible for college. Not because I hated my home- in fact, I love my home and the neighborhood I grew up in. I just wanted to go somewhere warm where it was baseball season all year round, where the sun was always shining, and where there were plenty of beautiful girls roaming around campus. So, I chose Arizona State.

                I tell many people that ASU was my dream school and they just scoff, assuming that I am either an alcoholic, idiot, or party animal. I held a 3.4 GPA at one of the most prestigious high schools in Illinois, I don’t drink since I’m underage (*wink wink*), and I don’t mind staying in on the weekends. I simply fell in love with the school for their baseball program, their business school, their campus and atmosphere. If you don’t know what I mean by the atmosphere, let me give you an example. During my summers I work in Downtown Chicago at a law office. More often than not I go into Starbucks to get my morning Cup O’ Joe. When I get to the counter the person typically says, “What can I getcha?” Not too bad, right? But when I visited Arizona when I was in high school, I walked into Starbucks at 7 am on a Saturday morning and the girl behind the counter had the brightest smile I’d ever seen on someone that early in the morning and exclaimed, “Hi! How are you?” To which I replied that I was fine and we actually started a conversation about why I was just fine and not “awesome,” “grand,” or “spectacular.”

                It caught me off guard how nice people in Arizona seemed to be. I thought everyone was the same in terms of their happiness levels or their overall demeanor. Then I realized, the sun is always out so there’s rarely any reason to stay inside, and it’s the type of place where a lot of people go on vacation. People in Arizona seemed, at least to me, to be much friendlier than the people I was used to back home in Chicago.

                I told friends I was going to ASU and they said they had wanted to go there but it was “too far,” or too much of a party school. People party anywhere, you just have to discipline yourself. As the only student from my graduating class attending ASU, not to mention the only one from the past 4 years of my high school, I was completely alone to start fresh when I got there, and that forced me to make friends quickly.

                The best thing about going away to ASU was no doubt the weather. I was able to wear shorts and tanks to class without worrying about frostbite or hypothermia. Then, the ability to be on my own set in. This scares a lot of people but let me tell you, it’s much better than you think. You don’t have a curfew, live by your own rules essentially, and you are your own boss in terms of time management. There is no one forcing you to wake up early, you can be as neat or dirty as you want, and you are independent. The overwhelming freedom I experienced was incredible. You do have to become very responsible though, but if you manage it well, you can still do very dumb and very fun things.

                There were drawbacks, of course. Homesickness hits everyone, but doesn’t last long once you find a group of friends to hangout with all the time. It’s not as big of a deal as many make it out to be. The worst part, at least for me, was being away from my dad. However, I was able to call/skype/text him whenever and I see him every break I get. The distance prohibited me from visiting home throughout the semester, but it forced me to make the most out of my college experience. Although I was alone at ASU, getting involved in clubs and club sports like baseball enabled me to make some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

                Being so far from home and not having a car sucks, but you’ll easily find a friend willing to drive you or lend you their car. I had no way of getting food or to practice without a car and my friends definitely helped me through that. I had to walk to every class and practically everywhere else. This enabled me to form a mini-family at ASU, where we leaned on each other when we were in need. Walking also allowed me to appreciate the campus a lot more and get some exercise between studying, classes, and partying. I was walking a mile every day, to and from class, when it was 110 degrees.

                In the end, it’s all about feeling comfortable. If you break out of your shell, you’ll be fine, regardless of whichever school you choose. Don’t let a great opportunity pass you up because your dream school too far. You’ll make the best friends of your life in college. Just remember, it’s not about making a good decision, it’s about making a decision good.


    To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

    Is it too late to turn Packback into a family owned business?

    by Kelly Shannon
    Illinois State University Packback Brand Ambassador

    When I got the text from my dad telling me that my brother, Mike, was going to be on ABC’s Shark Tank, it was immediately followed with information about the viewing party that they would be throwing at 1871. Aside from my obvious excitement, my first thought was “what the heck is 1871?” to which my dad replied “basically a big warehouse with desks and a bunch of 22 year olds running around on skateboards. Should be a good party.” With the assurance of my dad telling me I was in for a good party, I clearly couldn’t miss it. I mean… there’s a bunch of 22 year olds running around on skateboards! Doesn’t get much better than that.

    Well, turns out it does. My family and I arrived a little early to help Mike set up for the viewing party. When we got there, it was surprisingly pretty similar to what my dad had described. Although there were not any skateboards, there were a bunch of Razor Scooters instead, but those are just minor details. As we began setting up, I started to realize just how exciting this was; specifically when Mike told me we needed around 250 chairs (although, the idea of setting up 250 chairs wasn’t too exciting to me). A couple hours later, people started flooding in. I greeted the family and friends that I saw and was expecting to see, but as more supporters came in, I found myself talking to people I hadn’t seen in years. It truly was incredible to look around the room and see how many people were there to support both Mike and Packback.

    As the show started, everyone began to settle down a little bit. All of the seats were taken, with people standing on the side or sitting on the benches against the wall. With the exception of a few sound system issues that we’re fixed in the knick of time by Packback’s very own founders, the show ran smoothly. The excitement and energy in the room was incredible. By the end of it, the whole room was on their feet cheering as they watched the two “kids” in front of them make a $250,000 deal with Mark Cuban. $250,000. Mark Cuban. Just let that sink in for a second.

    The 10 minutes or so that Packback  aired on the Shark Tank episode was fantastic to watch, but I wish the 8.3 million viewers at home could have also watched the fireside chat that took place afterwards. As Mike’s sister, and also a Brand Ambassador for Packback, I thought I knew pretty much everything about the company and how they got started- boy was I wrong. Hearing Mike and Kasey talk about the different obstacles they crossed and overcame when starting Packback as college undergrads was easily one of the most inspiring stories I’ve ever heard.

    They explained the difficulties of “having to” skip class and drive to Chicago to sneak into 1871, only hoping that it would be worth it to get some more people on their side. They talked about how you only need a few key people on board to make something happen, no matter what Mr. Wonderful says. They discussed how college students have a unique advantage in the business world, and how they were able to overcome what they did because they were current students trying to make a difference. Sitting in the audience, I couldn’t help but listen in awe at the intelligence and grace that my brother, who used to restlessly tease me until I cried, spoke with.

    Both Mike and Kasey spoke in a way that showed off so much about each of their characters, and they certainly showed how hard each of them work and how much persistence they each have.

    I think every college student should get that chance to hear some of the wisdom that Mike and Kasey have to share. I walked out of the viewing party with a different view on Packback, my brother, and the business world in general. It’s amazing what a couple of hungover college kids can do when they pick up the phone and cold-call the CEO of a major publishing company.


    To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

    10 Things I Wish I Had Known as a College Freshman

    by Annabel Scheer
    Keene State College Packback Brand Ambassador

    1. I wish I had known laundry wasn’t free at my school. It costs 5 bucks each load, so that eventually adds up each month. On top of that, not only did I have to pay to use the machines, but then I had to pay for the detergent and the softener as well!

    2. I wish I had known the full details of my meal plan. At Keene, all residential students must have the same kind of meal plan: unlimited. Who really needs unlimited meal swipes? I pay 2,000 each semester for a plan that I do not want, but must have because I’m a residential student.

    3. I wish I had known about the many nights I would go without sleep. The end.

    4. I wish I would have known how many people at my school came to college unaware of how to properly cite their papers. Most didn’t even know what MLA citation is, so many people will try and bribe you to write their papers if they pay you, but never agree to do that because it could get you in serious trouble.

    5. I wish I had known how nice the bathrooms are in the academic buildings and the gym as opposed to my dorm, because I would use them much more than the dorm bathroom on my floor that’s shared with 60 other people and full of last weekend’s throw up (sorry for the details).

    6. I wish I had realized how expensive those little on campus stores are (the ones you can use your dining dollars at). I could have easily saved more money going to Wal-Mart to get more for a cheaper price.

    7. Being sick at schools sucks. I came down with the flu during my finals week second semester…it was awful. (which brings me to how much I wish I would have known how much I’d miss my mom..)

    8. Networking is by far the easiest way to land opportunities. Definitely get in touch with professors or important people on campus, they’ll think of you when an offer comes their way to refer a student to a job or internship.

    9. Ratemyprofessor.com is GOLDEN. USE IT. It’s a great tool that should definitely be utilized while choosing classes and making a schedule. It not only explains if a professor is difficult or not, but most of the time, you’ll get a sense of their teaching style so you will able to evaluate if their style is something you can relate with or work well with.

    10. Last but not least…I wish I would have known to avoid the campus bookstore at all costs. Never buy your textbooks at the school store. Never. Instead, use Packback!


    To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

    Guide for Incoming freshmen: How to save money on books!

    by Muhammed Waseem
    Syracuse University Packback Brand Ambassador

    Congratulations! You’re going to start a new adventure in your life: college.

    You are just about to embark on a new phase of your life. Be excited, because according to collegeamercia.edu, less than 10 percent of the U.S. population holds a college degree.  So can you really put a price on a life journey and a solid education?

    Yes, you can actually, but you probably already had this discussion with your parents when you applied.

    College Board states that the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013–2014 school year was $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. Additionally, the cost of textbooks is estimated to be $1,207 at public colleges and $1,253 at private colleges.

    While the cost of tuition cannot be helped, one expense you do have control over is the cost of the books you purchase.

    Here are two tips to help you save money:

    1. Avoid the college book stores.

    College bookstores are without a doubt the worst place to buy textbooks. The newer textbooks severely overpriced, and the used textbooks are not much better. But wait, it gets worse. The worst case scenario, which actually happens quite often is when you buy an overpriced book, and on your very first day of class, the professor utters the words “you really don’t need the book for this class.”

    Bottom line: avoid the college bookstores. There are many other options online to get your textbooks for class. But how do you which site is the best?

    Don’t fret, when it comes to buying books, Packback has got your back. Here on Packback you have the ability to compare prices between different books, used and new. This saves you the hassle of going from site to site and shows you the best price available. With Packback you could also try out their daily $3-5 textbook rental feature and ensure that you’re only paying for books when you actually need them.

    2. Buy the book after the first week of classes.

    As the professor is going over the syllabus you will get a feel for how much you really need the textbook. Packback also offers 24 hour rental services which give you full access to an electronic copy of the textbook. This will enable you to assess the quality of the book. You can take the time to skim through the chapters and materials. If you don’t quite feel this book is worth the $259 price tag but still might need to peek at the book once or twice throughout the quarter/semester, daily ebook rentals are for you!

    Regardless,as an incoming Freshman you have enough to worry about. Let Packback worry about your textbooks, and you can focus on what they’re serving at the cafeteria today..


    To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

    Tips on Marketing Yourself Professionally

    By David Hayashi
    Syracuse University Packback Brand Ambassador

    As college students prepare themselves for the big and scary “real world”, it’s important for them to be able to market themselves in a professional way. In order to impress employers, students need to make sure that they have polished resumes and cover letters to send recruiters in order to land those top internships or maybe Brand Ambassador programs with a start-up like Packback!

    Here are tips for college students on making top-notch resumes and cover letters!

    Resume Writing

    A good framework for organizing your resume is to include experiences in several categories. Effective categories that highlight your strengths include: education, leadership skills, community service, work experience, and any other skills that may be relevant to the position you are seeking. Using action verbs such as corrected, guided, enabled, developed, managed, and resolved can help you stand out to the hiring manager. Lastly, organization is important and the use of bullet points can help make the appearance of your resume more appealing.

    Cover Letter

    The cover letter helps the hiring manager get a better idea about you and why they should hire you for the position. Therefore it is crucial to touch on your previous work experiences that are relevant in order to show why you are the most qualified person for the job. The format of the cover letter should begin with by addressing the following: who are you, why are you writing, how did you hear about the position, and why are you interested. In the next paragraph you should describe your applicable experience, show that you truly understand the position requirements, and it should be concise as well as focuses on the positive. Finally, close the cover letter by stating that you believe you are a strong candidate because of your experiences and list your contact information.

    Keep these tips in mind when applying to jobs and internships. If you’re ever looking for great experience to boost those resumes and cover letters, consider applying to become a Packback Brand Ambassador! (www.packbackbooks.com/apply)

    To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/