At least, that’s what the new Student Commute Challenge shows.
As part of the challenge, GoTriangle has encouraged students from UNC, Duke, Wake Technical Community College and N.C. State University to compete from Jan. 20 to Feb. 20.
With 84 participants and 467 miles logged, UNC leads the challenge.
The competition is a monthlong event with challenges, a weekly raffle and an iPad mini as the ultimate prize for the student who logs the most miles of walking, biking, carpooling or bus riding.
Lauren Parker, marketing manager for GoTriangle, said she hoped to build off current rivalries to see which school has the most passion for going green.
“We want to encourage people to think about commuting differently,” Parker said.
UNC pharmacology student Marissa Cann expressed more concerns and sighs of frustration than excitement about the challenge.
Cann was originally pleased about the challenge and eager to start, but she gave up as problem after problem continued to arise.
“The website was not very good, to put it mildly,” she said.
Cann said she first signed up on the website on Jan. 27. After entering her information, she was informed she would receive a verification email shortly after. The email never came.
She then tried to contact GoTriangle from the challenge’s website, but there was no contact information available. Cann eventually tried again, and this time the email went through.
The problems continued as she had trouble editing her mileage log and she was not able to put in the correct mileage.
“The idea is really neat,” Cann said. “I really want to participate. The website is the problem.”
Junior Andrea Stewart agrees with Cann and said she faced similar issues.
Stewart had difficulties maneuvering the website and found the challenge to be poorly advertised.
She said GoTriangle should promote the campaign on a broader range. Stewart heard about the challenge from UNC’s Sustainability Office, but she has not seen it advertised anywhere else since.
Stewart said she appreciates the idea, but thinks GoTriangle has quite a few kinks to work out before the challenge will be successful.
“It’s good to encourage other people who live off campus to think of different ways to get to campus, but I’m not sure about the execution of it right now,” she said.
Cann proposed a re-evaluation of GoTriangle’s target participants in order to encourage commuting where it would impact the most people.
“I think it’s more important to advertise to faculty, postdocs and other university staff because, as students, most of us are taking some mode of alternative transportation already.”