Students first were asked about questions about their public transportation use and then about how to fix the parking problem on campus as part of two recent surveys initiated by the Office of Student Life leaders.
In the first survey conducted during the first few days of spring quarter, students were asked how they would benefit from public transportation systems.
About 500 students answered questions in either the online survey or the in-person survey. Student leaders currently are studying the results.
“I’m analyzing the results and trying to find patterns as to why students use the bus or don’t use the bus, when they get here and when they don’t,” Executive Director of Operations Austin Shaffer said.
Originally, Shaffer and other student leaders spread out across campus with iPads to ask students to complete the survey on the website SurveyMonkey.com. Many students need convincing to take the time to fill out a survey on the bus systems.
The survey asked questions pertaining to the student’s age, days of commute, arrival and departure times, and campus of attendance. It also inquired about the student’s current method of transportation to and from the college, as well as what type of incentive the student would need to begin using the public transportation system. If the student currently rides the bus, questions included current payment of bus fares and transportation systems of choice.
This strategy yielded about 148 results, standard for an on-campus survey, according to Shaffer.
Shaffer then approached the topic with a different method.
Director of Student Life Sean Cooke suggested that the student leaders should look at the public transportation issue with a different perspective.
The survey topic changed to fixing the parking problem.
“Everybody has a problem with parking. Students always, including myself, have something to complain about when it comes to parking,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer and his team then sent out an email, transcribed by Cooke, with a subject line that read, ‘Help us fix the parking problem.’
“When that email was sent out, we got 400 results,” Shaffer said. “(Those) 400 people entered the survey online through the link that was sent out in less than a week.”
As of March 18, 500 students had responded to the survey. This new method of surveying, approaching students with the topic in a way that they would care, worked effectively for the Office of Student Life leaders, Shaffer said.
Currently, Shaffer and his team are in the process of entering and analyzing all results from the survey.
“Once we get the rest of those entered in, I have about 15 more [paper surveys] to enter in, and I’ll be looking at those and hopefully finding some patterns and going back to Pierce Transit, showing them what we’ve got, and finding out what’s their best option that would fit the needs of the students,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer hopes that some sort of new system will be in the works this quarter, but expects that the initial changes will be made in the coming school year.
“Who know’s if there will be something put in place this year, but at least there will be a foundation for something to happen next year,” Shaffer said.å
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