[IMAGE]ElonBioBus083110-2.jpg[/IMAGE]N.C.-based Elon University added two new stops to its BioBus route, which was introduced earlier this year to provide students with access to volunteer and work opportunities downtown.
The route was launched last February and has seen a healthy ridership since its inception, at a total of 1,147 riders during the spring semester alone. Of the total, 445 students and 702 members of the public used the route, according to Eric Townsend, spokesperson, Elon University.
The University has several ongoing partnerships for volunteer work with Cummings High School, located in East Burlington. One of the stops has been placed at the high school campus for University students who volunteer at the school and high school students who take classes at the University campus. The second new stop is located at the nearby Wal-Mart.
The route was created to make volunteering easier for academic service learning and federal work study students who need transportation away from campus. Volunteer services that students can access by the new bus route for volunteer work include the American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity. Dozens of agencies are serviced by the loop.
At the end of the spring semester the University sought feedback from riders and assessed how the system was used. The Kernodle Center for Service Learning, which has overseen the route, decided to add the stops after determining they would benefit people who not only were already riding the bus, but those who might start riding it if additional opportunities were provided, Townsend explained.
Now that there’s more awareness of the route on campus, more professors are encouraging their students to ride the bus or are presenting opportunities to fulfill class assignments by working with partner agencies that are located on the route, he added.
The university has budgeted $18,000 to operate the loop for the 2010-2011 academic year, expecting to see the route get even more use. “Last semester it was just getting off the ground. People were just learning about it. Now that it has been successful for several months, and we’ve expanded it, I think it’s going to see quite a few more riders,” Townsend said.