Mikki Minton, Anna Graff, MacKenzie Campbell, Abby Akin, and Clara Edwards
Everyone sees the UNL buses on campus but many students have no idea how they work or how to use them to travel to and from East Campus. For our project we decided to propose a way to fix this problem and make students more aware of how to ride the buses we see every day around campus.
The exigence in this rhetorical situation is that many students do not take advantage of this service, which we already pay for through our student fees. Every student is given a bus pass that works for all Lincoln buses when they attend UNL, but many students never use them in their four or more years at the university. Most students travel to East Campus and Innovation Campus with cars instead of taking the buses. This occurs for many reasons, but the main problem we focused on was the lack of knowledge students have about the buses.
The audience for our proposal is the group that needs to be persuaded, UNL students. With our proposal we hope to educate the students on the benefits of taking the bus and make them consider the buses when traveling between campuses.
There are a few constraints within this rhetorical situation: The first constraint is that many people think the buses take away their freedom to come and go as they please. There is also an ongoing stigma about public transportation being slow or late. The other problem is making sure our proposal reaches a large audience and gets to the right people.
In order to inform students about the buses, we decided to create a video and infographics explaining information students might not know about the buses. The video acts as a way to show students the step-by-step process of getting on the bus and making it seem less intimidating for first-time riders. The infographics add to our proposal by informing students and giving them tips about riding the buses that the video could have missed. We wanted to include both of these components so students could learn as much information about the buses as possible without overwhelming them with a long brochure or confusing maps.
For our commons campaign, we have done several things to help raise awareness about the buses around campus. The first thing we did was put together an informative video to show students how to ride the bus. We used this video as a way to show students exactly how to ride the bus instead of writing out steps. We hoped by putting together this video that walks students through the process of riding the bus it would make students feel more comfortable getting onto the buses and knowing what to do.
We then created several infographics with tips that we did not include about the buses in the video. We created the hashtag #UNLBusIQ to make the campaign recognizable and easy for students to remember. We thought these graphics would be helpful for many reasons. They would be able to not only catch people’s attention on social media but also share important tips that people may not know about the buses. Both of these medias we thought would grab people’s attention and teach them about the buses in an interesting way that brochures have a hard time doing. Having the ability to put these on media platforms like Facebook and Youtube would open them to a wide audience of students who might not look at brochures or signs around campus.
There were several stylistic choices we made during the process. The video is fairly short, at less than 1.5 minutes. Our video conveys the necessary information in a quick fashion, while still maintaining the attention of the audience. We chose the most important information, while leaving out anything that would be nice to know, but not essential.
We plan to circulate the video mainly through social media. Many students scroll through Facebook while waiting for class and do not have headphones in. To deal with that, we decided against having voice-overs or people speaking during the videos. Instead we used written text and had subtitles on the video. We also used Royalty-free music (https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music) that plays during the video.
For our project we decided it would best fit the kairos of the situation to push our campaign to social media in the fall semester. If we started this campaign at the end of this semester, our impact will be smaller as most students who need to go to between campuses figured it out months ago. By publishing our infographics and video at the beginning on the fall semester we will better meet the needs of students and it will be more beneficial for incoming students.
At the beginning of May one of our group members is doing a presentation to NSE about sustainability. This video will be mentioned during that presentation and the NSE leaders will hopefully mention it to the incoming students. The students who are curious will be able to look the video up and learn how to ride the bus. This will make them equipped to utilize the buses when they arrive on campus.
By sharing our video with different on-campus groups, such as Green UNL, International Student Services, and BikeUNL, our campaign will reach a larger audience and better meet the kairos of the situation. Those groups in particular have audiences that we believe will be receptive to our message.
We worked efficiently as a group. We utilized the GroupMe mass messaging app to communicate with the five members. This type of messaging is more convenient than just meeting in-person and more efficient than group emails. We were also able to post pictures and links, tag each other, and ‘like’ each other’s messages, which added efficiency and organization to our communication, and is something that could not be accomplished with traditional text messaging, Since we all have busy schedules we relied on this and Google docs to finish the project.
We also divided up the tasks. Instead of having everyone collaboratively work on every aspect of the project, we discussed what we wanted for each component, and worked on parts in smaller groups or individuals while touching in with the rest of the group. Our group was able to multitask and finish multiple aspects of the project simultaneously. For example, some group members worked on the infographics, some worked on the paper, and some worked on the video. Even though we were not all focused on the same thing, each of us was still able to provide input for each component of the project.
One of the biggest challenges of this project was finding time for our whole group to meet in-person at the same time. With five students who are heavily involved on campus, it seemed that none of our busy schedules ever coincided. We did find a couple of 30 minute time slots where everyone was able to meet, with some members coming and going throughout. Having time to meet in-person was most important at the start of the project for the exchange of ideas, collaboration, and creativity. Because scheduling time for everyone to meet was so difficult, we started working on our project later than we had originally planned, but as we fleshed out the rest of the project, in-person meetings with the whole group were not necessary, and we managed to do well without it.
A second challenge was prioritizing the information we wanted to communicate to our audience. There are many aspects of the Lincoln bus system which would be helpful to inform students about, but we needed to focus on the most important points. One strength of our group was that we had members who consistently ride the buses, and members who have never ridden the buses. We used our varying levels of experience to identify reasons why students don’t know about or don’t use the bus, and were able to provide helpful information to make riding the bus easier to understand.
We faced some challenges throughout the process of making the video. In order to cut time and avoid the slow bureaucratic process, we filmed the buses without asking permission of the bus company. It would have been ideal to use a stationary bus not in use for the day in order to film, but we risked them denying us the ability to film at all on any of the buses. Instead, we opted to film without express permission, considering people already use video or photos with programs such as Snapchat in and around the buses and publish their snaps on a platform. We are just making a longer video and posting it on a different platform. To minimize our risks, we did not film any bus drivers or other individuals who did not give express permission to be filmed in the video.
We also faced a challenge when it came time to edit the video as none of us have strong video. Because a video was the best means to get the message to our audience, it wasn’t a constraint we could skirt around. We needed to edit the video to be short enough to keep our audience's attention, while keeping the video organized and strategic. Editing a video turned out to be more complicated than anticipated. If we could go back, we would start the video sooner to allow more time for the editing process but it was difficult to get started without having a group meeting to finalize plans. The video ended up being finished in time and to an acceptable quality.
Overall, we believe our campaign will encourage and increase the number of students riding the buses, as well as the general knowledge about how the UNL buses work.
Here is the link to our video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maZgUPbICb8
Here are the infographics:
Email to accompany video and infographics:
In an effort to coordinate with your initiatives to go green, as well as educating future students, we have created an informative video about the bussing system on our campuses.
Our initial inspiration came during our Comm 250 course, which required us to complete a project that helps the common good of the campus. This video includes what to have handy before the bus arrives, how to stop it when you are nearing your destination and even how to load your bike onto the bus. We believe that this video and our infographics will help students who need to take the bus for the first time. It can also help smooth out the process of boarding the bus during the first few weeks of the year.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss this further, we would happy to meet with you.
Our hope is that you would be willing to share this with incoming students, whether it be via social media or at an event, to help them adjust, save some money and go a little greener.
Mikki Minton, Anna Graff, MacKenzie Campbell, Abby Akin, and Clara Edwards