Shippensburg graduate students show value of local ballet group

A study by two Shippensburg University graduate students shows that the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) had an economic impact of nearly $5.7 million on the region. 

The study was done by Chris Sheipe and Joey Reese, students in the university’s master’s of science degree program in psychological science. The pair is in the program’s applied track for graduates interested in areas such as industry, government, or non-profits. The study fulfills part of their degree requirements. 

According to Dr. Lea Adams, associate professor of psychology and co-director of the applied track with Dr. James Griffith, associate professor of psychology, the study focused on the fundamental question “Was money spent in the community that would not have been spent if (CPYB) didn’t exist?’”  

Of the $5.7 million impact, Sheipe and Reese found individuals who attended performances spent nearly $2.6 million, CPYB’s operational expenditures were nearly $1.6 million, and CPYB’s salary and wages were nearly $1.4 million. 

Reese said the study looked at three areas of spending. “The biggest one was the clientele spending in the community. The second group was the expenditures in operating costs itself. For example, the money paid to local contractors to build a set. The third area of spending was the salaries and wages of employees at CPYB.”

In the study, individuals who attended performances were asked various questions such as how far they traveled, did they eat dinner in the area, did they stay overnight and what else did they do while they were in the area. 

According to Reese, “In a time when arts are being pushed away, this really means something. I like the methodology that we use in psychology. It’s very scientific and I think when you apply it to the real world, you get real results that actually mean something. For Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (the results) are valuable.” 

Adams said the program regularly works with area organizations. “We try to partner with organizations in our community to do applied psychological research and CPYB has been a magnificent community partner.”