Matt Watson, Mike Winberg, Rodolfo Ortiz
When we first started brainstorming of ideas that would collectively help public life, one of our favorite ideas was to find a way to improve or even just educate students and public about parking on campus. Right now many students don’t live on campus and the most common theme for commuter students is paying high prices for student lot parking. We first sought out to contact Park N Go to see if we could make parking easier for students by creating a monthly student pass. After a long waiting period after we contacted them we did not see it feasible to change anything Park N Go had put in place. After realizing we couldn’t change anything already in place, we decided that the students and university community should still be better educated on university parking. Even saving a little money here and there or avoiding a parking ticket could vastly help the student population on campus. A few things we wanted to focus on were what Park N Go garages are available, how to make parking at meters easier, and how to save money parking on campus.
The rhetorical situation we based our project around is the difficulty students have with paying for parking, parking availability, and fees from parking on campus. Around campus one thing we noticed is students are having more and more trouble with parking. We found that the University isn’t making it easier for students and faculty to park on or around campus. On top of this students are often having troubles plugging their meters in between classes and thus racking up big fees that often turn into even bigger fees if not paid on time. The reason for this difficulty is students are often undereducated about the metered spots on campus, the various garages around campus, and tools that help them make payment much easier.
By hanging posters around campus we believe students would become more aware of the parking garages that offer cheap parking and are a relatively close distance from campus. These parking garages can be hugely beneficial for students because you are able to park there for 24 hours and the maximum you would pay is $9.00. These garages offer you a great location, you’re safe from getting tickets, and it is very cost effective. We know garages are one of the largest parking facilities, but not everyone uses them and so we created another poster to help inform students about the passport app for meter parking.
The passport app is the most important part of our campaign we want to educate people on. Essentially the app is a foolproof way to ensure your meter stays plugged protecting you from getting tickets. The app also keeps a complete history of your parking so if you ever were to get a ticket you could very easily refute it by showing Park n Go your payment history. When you register for the app it requires you to put in the make model and year of your car with the license plate information as well. You also put in your credit card information so you can pay for your parking from the app. From there each metered parking spot is given a zone number when you park your car in that zone you select that zone on the app and put money on the meter through the app. Even after asking some of our peers and realizing they weren’t using the app, we decided this information needed to be available and public for as many people on campus to see.
We decided the best way to reach the largest audience for our commons campaign was to look at where most of foot traffic occurs on campus. We posted our flyers in the Student Union and in Love Library. We figured that especially around this time of the semester it would be the best idea considering how many students go to these places to study. We made posters for the Passport Parking app with information on how it works and also how it would benefit students should they want to download it. We also included the information about all the different features and what they can do on the app. For the iPark Card poster we told people to follow their social media handle and to apply for the waitlist as soon as possible since the Park And Go iPark Card is a great deal for students that drive to campus. We also included some basic information on how to apply for it, the basic components, and the location of the garages that are associated with Park And Go.
For the flyers we went with information and design that would stand out from the others and tried to put an emphasis on the parking aspect. We put them mainly in the union and the library bulletin boards. Most of the information was taken directly from the websites and we added their social media handles for people to follow. We also included information on the flyers about how to apply for the iPark card and the locations of their garages in case people were wondering how close they were to the campus. Mainly what we wanted to get from these flyers is for people to notice them and consider applying for them since there is a waiting list to get in on it. As for the Passport Parking app flyer we just really wanted to get the word out about this app since it seems very useful as you can literally add extra time on your meters and check up on it through your phone and even on your computer. I know the passport app is a great tool to refute parking tickets, make parking faster, and not having to worry about carrying around change. In order to show evidence for our intervention, we attached links below to the posters we created.
- iPark Card poster/flyer: http://i.imgur.com/fm9EMp3.png
- Passport Parking App poster/flyer: http://i.imgur.com/RzDaBBt.png
- Location and how it looks http://i.imgur.com/mQPXPO0.jpg
As much as we tried to help and work with Park N Go, we soon realized that we needed to reinvent our idea and thus we created our informational posters. It took a while to get a response with the emails we sent, and even then the answers we were given were somewhat vague. After that we thought it best to still deliver our idea, but just in a different form that would still be beneficial. We also tried to get traction and create a #parkandgo hashtag, however, we decided that using the twitter handle for the Park N Go company would be a more informative and successful alternative.
What I would do differently next time about this project is try to find a way to communicate better with the company. We know that at the end of the day it is a company and we’re just students, but we tried our best to create something impactful on campus. If we had to do it again we would try to do more with social media awareness. Social media is one of the best ways to create attention for any issue, especially on campus. I would be very interested in seeing how much traction we could generate over a semester if we would have had more time for this project. Overall I would say that we did well given some of the obstacles that we faced. The posters that we put up on the bulletins seemed to do great, they really stood out from the other flyers on the bulletins, and hopefully educated the public about making parking easier and more affordable here on campus.