Free laptop bags at N.C. college

ow do you get college students to use a laptop bag? Give them one that’s specifically made for them-for free.

That’s what Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., did for this year’s crop of first-year students.

The college made a deal with Wake Forest-based Penelope Bags to provide 600 Go Girl Laptop Messenger Bags to new students.

Penelope Mancuso came up with the bag last year after realizing many female college students wanted the same thing professional women did – a bag that was functional as well as fashionable. Mancuso, a former researcher and vice president at GlaxoSmithKline and founder of a technology company called PharmaVigilant, said throughout her career she would constantly hear women complaining about bulky computer bags without style.

The Go Girl Messenger Bag is the second bag for the company. It’s a canvas bag with a padded compartment for a laptop, extra room for books and zippered pockets designed for cellphones, iPods and PDAs.

Bill Legge, laptop project manager at Meredith, said the school picked the bag after transfer students in January tested them – and then actually used them.

“We wanted a bag that our students would like, and most importantly, would use,” Legge said.

Each student gets to choose from four different color schemes and each bag will have the school’s monogram.

You don’t have to attend the school to get the bag, though. They are sold without the Meredith logo for $59 online at