By: Brook Denny
“Can I borrow your car tomorrow?” “I need a ride to Publix” “I have an interview downtown for class, do you know someone who can take me? ”… Sound familiar? Too often, vexing sentences such as these end up in the mailbox of professors, friends, and campus officials. So, the question is, what can we do?
I have shifted my mind to all things transportation largely since the end of August. Being the Alternative Transportation Fellow, part of my job is to identify different avenues that the campus can take to provide transportation for all students, making sure that the decisions we do make are inclusive and holistic, rather than just economical.
Currently, the campus funds the Weekend Trolley, the Walmart Shuttle, Evening SafeRide, and the Morning and Afternoon Shuttles. These services are provided by the Furman University Police Department (FUPO), and the Student Government Association (SGA). And while these options are great options, there is so much room for improvement. Furman is changing, and the student body is evolving. As a campus, our administration needs to anticipate this change and provide feasible options for this new student body to not only get around campus, but also Greater Greenville.
While all of this sounds phenomenal, and no one would challenge the idea of a more holistic and eco-friendly approach to student transportation, these changes, unfortunately, take time (Ugh!). However, if time is what it takes, then time is what we will give, which brings us to my day-to-day tasks. Past fellows and key campus stakeholders have realized the issues and made recommendations. All of this past work has kindly been placed in my lap. From August onward, I have digested the past suggestions and studies and started forging the path to change. I have been delighted to invite the Shi Center, SGA, FUPO, and even Greenlink to sit at the table where all of these organizations have weighed in and helped me visualize what Furman transportation could look like in years to come.
Changes are on their way (yay!), and you may have already seen them in action on the Morning Shuttle to class. The driver now has new hand clickers! This rather simple device will help campus leaders and me understand how our current tools are being utilized. This information will be compiled as I audit all of the current campus transportation’s related expenditures and start to make recommendations for the future. And while I am diligently looking for new holistic options that are well within the means of our budget, I am always open to suggestions.
As Furman strengthens its ties to Greenville, the importance of transportation becomes even more apparent. So, I encourage you to share your story, ideas, and thoughts about what you think both on and off campus transportation should look like in the future. I can be reached at Brook.Denny@Furman.edu.