Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey has solicited student, faculty and staff input into Georgetown’s long-term strategic master planning through two surveys, MyCommute and MyCampus, both released April 2.

“We need to be cognizant of how our clients use the facilities on campus, how they navigate, where they eat,” Morey said in explaining the impetus for the surveys. “I think, anecdotally, we know certain things, but if the students input that data and we can see it live, it will validate what we know and give us info that we didn’t already know. … Data is what can help drive good decisions.”

Morey said that the survey’s results would impact future decisions such as possible new dining areas and traffic engineering.

The surveys, which close April 16, have already attracted strong turnout.

As of Wednesday, 1,700 faculty and staff had completed MyCommute, while as of Thursday, 1,316 students, faculty and staff had completed MyCampus. Approximately 45 percent of MyCampusrespondents were students, while approximately 25 percent were staff and only 6 percent were faculty.

MyCommute was designed to measure faculty and staff commuting and traffic patterns around campus, focusing on campus parking, Georgetown University Transportation Shuttles and public transportation use, while the MyCampus survey sought to determine which areas of campus are used for which purposes.

Based on information about workers’ and graduate students’ commuting habits to and from the university, the university could potentially create new initiatives to reduce car traffic and parking on campus, increase biking opportunities, make pedestrian walks friendlier and incentivize carpooling, according to Morey.

“The idea isn’t, you know, people need to get to work, so build more parking — that’s not a sustainable approach,” Morey said. “We want to do transportation in a green, sustainable way.”

Morey also cited the economic benefits of more sustainable commuting habits. New parking lots would replace valuable on-campus green space, while building new underground parking would be expensive.

“We need to balance the extent to which we can leverage people’s habits so that they can get to work and make it more convenient to change their behavior,” Morey said. “If we can know what these behaviors are, we can make programs to do that.”

In MyCampus, participants were asked to indicate their most commonly used areas of campus by dragging various icons onto an overhead satellite image of the main campus. Icons represented categories of use, such as studying, socializing, dining, classes and living.

Participants were also asked to draw their usual on-campus traveling patterns by walking, biking or driving. Respondents also answered questions about dangerous areas of campus, whether due to traffic, crime or other causes. Finally, the survey asked participants to indicate the location of the “heart of campus” as well as to highlight the core area of campus.

Students who took the survey had ideas they hoped would be considered at some point in the planning process.

Lindsay Kolowich (COL ’13) focused on the transportation and safety portions of the survey.

“The [portion of the survey that addressed] areas that students deemed unsafe was the most useful, in terms of using the information for the future,” Kolowich said.

Kolowich, however, doubted her input would be incorporated into the final stages of the planning process.

“I’m not sure how much it will impact future decisions,” Kolowich said. “I saw it more as a cool way to track which types of people use different facilities.”

Andrew Haddad (SFS ’15), who did not take the survey, also doubted its impact.

“The school keeps sending out a number of random surveys, and I don’t know how much it will actually do,” Haddad said. “It’s hard to tell [which] surveys are actually important and will get used.”

But Alex Barnes (SFS ’16), who would like to see renovation to outdoor areas of campus, including more outdoor seating in Harbin Patio, was more optimistic about the effectiveness of the survey.

“I think it’s important to provide good feedback, especially if the survey is going to be a long-term thing. Hopefully, the university will use this for several years to come and when they’re considering new building projects,” Barnes said. “I think it’s going to be something they refer to repeatedly.”

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