Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Commons Campaign Portfolio

Sawyer Kreikemeier, Dante Fisher, Clint Wilson, Rafe Parker
Jon Carter
December 8, 2015
Commons Campaign Portfolio

 For our group’s commons campaign, we decided to create an online blog that promoted safety regulations between bicyclists and pedestrians on campus. The exigence of our campaign was to educate the students and faculty of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus on the safety of pedestrians in relation to people on bicycles. We strived to think about how to promote the issue to our audience and how the issue could be changed, while thinking of ways to relate to our audience and gain their support.
Our target audience was the people that walk on the sidewalks of every day; the students, faculty, and administration of UNL. We created a blog to encourage discussion on the topic, and well as present information relevant to the issue. In response to our proposal, we decided that it was necessary to get the opinion of our audience on the topic in order to see how people on campus felt about the issue and what could be changed.
We knew from the beginning that our biggest constraint would be getting word out about our campaign, and getting people to support it. We understood that ultimately we would have to spread information about our campaign by word-of-mouth, but the only way to track support was through our blog.
One of the affordances we were aware of at the beginning of our project was the fact that many people on campus are aware of the need for safety between bicyclists and pedestrians. It have been noted on social media pages that people do not appreciate almost getting ran-over by someone riding a bike while walking to class, and we used that to our advantage. We also appreciated the fact that it would be easy to get a general feel of people’s opinions on the issue through a survey. Since many people on campus are familiar with the topic, they were more likely to take the minute or two to take our survey and help us as a group gather data on the issue.
Beginning our project, we first set out on the city campus in an attempt to find any signs that are directed to bicyclists. At the beginning of the year, two of us remembered seeing a sign near Morrill Hall that told bicyclists to keep at least three feet between them and walking pedestrians. While walking all around campus, we found no signs that appealed to the safety of pedestrians in relation to individuals on bicycles. Following that, we created our blog. The purpose of our blog was to establish an online presence and to get the word out about our campaign for bicyclist vs. pedestrian safety on campus. We made sure to include the little information that the university provides on its website about bicyclist safety, hoping that other people looking at the blog would see that more safety is needed. After creating the blog, we devised a five-question survey that we sent out to our peers across the university. The survey was open for two weeks, from Tuesday, November 17th, until Tuesday, December 1st. In the survey, we asked students and faculty if they felt bicyclists need to have more etiquette for pedestrians on campus, if they have been hit by a bicyclist, how safe they feel around bicyclists on the sidewalks, if bicyclists should yield to pedestrians or vice versa, and areas on city campus with the highest bicycle traffic. Options for the areas included Vine Street from 17th Street to Memorial Stadium, the sidewalks between Andrews Hall and Richards Hall, the Union to Brace Hall, and the sidewalks along 14th, 16th, and “R” Streets. After the survey was done, we went over the data and published it on the blog.            
 The blog that we created served as the medium for our project. From there we posted our group’s intentions on what we planned to accomplish with this project for our audience’s understanding. As a reflection of our exigence, we included links to the university’s website regarding the current regulations in place for people riding bikes on campus, as a way to show our audience where we started, and where to go from there. After that, we created the survey that we emailed to our classes. We asked five simple questions that were relevant to our project in hopes that they would accurately represent the opinions of UNL students and faculty about the issue of bikes on campus.
Several things went well in our group’s quest for pedestrian safety with bicyclists. Gathering public opinion about bicycle vs. pedestrian safety on campus went very well, as we received many responses that showed the need for bicycle safety. It was very easy to create an online survey and email it to our classes and other peers on campus, in order to gather information on how people across campus feel about the issue. Spreading the message online went very well, too. Creating a blog was a great way to provide information to UNL students about the issue of pedestrian safety in relation to bicyclists. It was easy to upload information that was provided by the university’s website, as well as start discussion about the topic and what should be done about it. Being able to put our data gathered from the survey was great as it gave students and faculty a general sense of feeling about the issue.
There are several things that our group could do differently in the future if we were to do the project again. It would have been helpful to have more presence both online and in person about the project. Each of us could have shared the blog on our social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, asking people to take a look at it and discuss the issue. We could have also created social media sites for our campaign, rather than just having a single blog about it. In person, we could have spoken to peers and instructors about the issue, striking up conversations across campus, which would not only get people talking about the issue but also direct them to our social media sites to get more information on what is being proposed. Our group could have reached out to the Transportation Services here at UNL, letting them know about our project and talking to them about the issue. We could have seen if they have an opinion on the issue, or if they had any plans for signage around campus or more definitive regulations for people biking on campus. All of these things could have helped solidify our campaign more and make more people aware of the issue.
 Even though we may not have gained as much support as we had hoped to, we still believe that our campaign could make a change to the issue. It does not matter if the university amends its regulations for bicycling on campus. If the only successful thing taken from our campaign is a few bicyclists taking safer precautions around pedestrians on campus, then our campaign succeeded.

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