Wayne State Student Senate discussed how to inform the student body about a free student transportation proposal in its virtual meeting Thursday.
Senate President Sailor Mayes said that students would be able to use Detroit Department of Transportation and SMART buses, the QLINE streetcar and MoGo bikes for free by using their OneCard.
“We’re trying to, you know, strategize a marketing plan and [get] this out to students and [share] it with students so, you know, students know that they can use this initiative that we’re working on,” Mayes said.
Director of Economic and Community Development Emily Thompson, who is involved in planning the initiative, emailed Senate for student input on the initiative’s branding and promotions, Mayes said.
“[Thompson] has some questions for the Student Senate.. basically regarding what she wants for the transit program at Wayne State,” Mayes said.
Email blasts, logos on DDOT and SMART buses and messages on TV screens in the Student Center to promote the initiative were discussed as options. Mayes said she will inform Thompson about Senate’s suggestions.
“I think that if students are walking around campus or near campus, and they see a bus or something that says ‘Wayne State,’ I know for me personally, I would look at that and see like ‘Okay, this is like a type of transportation Wayne State is providing me,’” said Director of Community Affairs Mannat Bedi.
According to Thompson’s email, more details about the initiative will be given in a presidential town hall Monday, Mayes said.
Bedi updated Senate on details of its possible collaboration with mindfulness and meditation app Calm.
“Through the Calm… partnership… we get certain data from the app that tells us how much people are using it — obviously with no names and things like that, so privacy is still protected — but we get a little bit of data showing how many student that have those codes are using it, for how long they use it and certain metrics like that,” Bedi said. “So we could definitely reevaluate after the 1,000 (Calm subscription) codes and if students are really using it.”
Bedi said Senate could conduct a survey to determine student demand. She also said allowing Counseling and Psychological Services to distribute the 1,000 subscription codes was a possibility.
“So maybe if [students] meet with a counselor and then they talk a little bit more and the counselor might provide them with a code that they could use in their own time, when they’re not meeting with a counselor,” Bedi said. “So it’s kind of just like an extra service that we could provide through CAPS.”
College of Education Representative Lukis Bagdon and Mayes both supported using a pilot program to ascertain whether students would actually use the app, they said. Bagdon advised against committing to a partnership immediately because of WSU’s recent tuition raise.
“I do think the pilot program is probably a better way to go, especially because we just increased tuition by 3.9%,” Bagdon said. “And so even if those two things aren’t connected, I think as a PR move it’s probably not the best to be like, ‘Yeah, we’re spending $120,000 on the Calm app.’”
Mayes said she suggested finding out what the cost of a pilot program would be — the details of which are yet to be determined.
Various WSU departments, including the Office of Student Financial Aid, are hosting campus tours and online discussions to increase fall enrollment, Dean of Students David Strauss said.
The Dean of Students Office will also be hosting Warrior summer activities on Friday afternoons from July 30 to Aug. 20, Strauss said. This will give students a chance to socialize and see WSU's campus.
“There’ll be financial aid support services there, advising support service there, we’ll have swag to give away, we’ll have food, just to have fun,” Strauss said.
He said more information will be posted soon on WSU’s Get Involved website.
The next Student Senate virtual meeting will be held Aug. 5.
Kate Vaughn is a contributing writer for The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo by Kate Vaughn.