Laker Current Staff Report
If transportation to the Harrison or Mt. Pleasant campuses is a problem — or if you‘re just trying to save money — carpooling has become an easy answer at Mid Michigan Community College. MMCC has arranged a free carpool matching service for students at Internet-based Carpoolworld. The goal is to help students commute more efficiently and help save the natural environment while saving on transportation expenses. The service was introduced in Fall 2014, thanks to an MMCC Foundation Grant.
“Through student surveys, the Retention department recognized that transportation was an issue for many MMCC students,” explained Robert Salowitz, MMCC Retention Advisor. “Transportation issues could impact class attendance, or prevent students from registering, or divert students to online classes. In addition, transportation is a considerable expense for many MMCC students.”
Salowitz, who prepared the grant application, said there are currently about 60 students in the Mid Ride system.
“We are hoping to have more sign-ups as we start a new school year,” he said, adding that Retention is currently working with the Marketing department to keep students informed about Mid Ride.
All Mid students are commuters, and many drive a great distance,” Salowitz said. He emphasized that students seeking rides aren’t the only ones needed to assure MidRide’s success. The program also needs drivers to sign up, as well as those needing a ride.
Students can learn more about the service or sign up to participate by visiting the MidRide web site at http://www.carpoolworld.com/mid_michigan.html. You must first sign in to set up a personal account and provide a valid midmich.edu email address to access the system. You will be asked to enter the location of your “Trip Origin” (where you live or where you wish to meet your carpool). After you confirm your email account, you will be able to view your matches and contact the other commuters in your Carpoolworld group by phone or email. Possible carpool matches also will be emailed to you periodically.
Travel can be arranged for an entire semester, or just one day, for example when a student experiences car trouble.
alowitz explained that Mid Ride is a small part of a worldwide carpool software system that was customized for MMCC.
“The Mid Ride system … has some nice features including: you must have a midmich.edu account, you can set up a personal profile (driver/passenger, smoking/non-smoking, gender, etc.), and you can use an alias to communicate via email before agreeing to carpool,” he said.
“In addition to home-to-campus carpooling, Mid Ride can also be used to set up campus-to-campus carpooling.”
Salowitz said that MMCC and Retention are constantly striving to remove barriers to student success.
“Mid Ride was provided to be an option for students in need of transportation,” he said. “For fortunate students that already have dependable transportation, Mid Ride can be a nice way for these students to pay it forward and help a fellow student.”