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Proposal for extended year long
U-Pass and “Explore Chicago Class”
Scott Triner
Jorge Martinez
The Current Situation
As students, we have noticed that students do not go out into the city often.
Many are nervous about getting lost and are discouraged by Chicago’s reputation
as a violent city. This is a problem because students are not experiencing all that
Chicago has to offer and are simply staying on campus. This could also discourage
students from pursuing internships in the city since they do not know the area well.
Helping students explore the city more will help build their happiness and improve
their performance in other classes.
In a small survey of 20 IIT students (limited time) we completed we found
that on average 46% students stated that they travel into the city daily yet only 26%
percent of students said that they actually knew the city well (7+). In addition we
asked students “on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being extremely, how much does not
having a U-Pass during breaks affect you taking internships” and the average
response was a 6.We also asked both commuters and on campus students how
likely they would be to take a class that allowed them to explore the city and 55%
percent answered over 7.
Our Solution
Our solution is to introduce both a
mandatory class that would help students
explore the city, as well as year round Upass service for all students. Universities,
such as Depaul University and many
others, implement such a class for its
students. This class would not only show
students where around the city they can
explore but also encourage them to take
advantage of the city. IIT is located in
Chicago and that is one of its main selling
points yet most students don’t explore the
city.
The class will make sure to teach students about the history of the city and
teach them about the different neighborhoods around the city. The class would take
place primarily in the classroom and have a few select trips into the city to visit
specific neighborhoods of high interest. The class would make sure to point out
specific landmarks and tourist attractions that many visitor of Chicago often visit.
We hope that the class will encourage students to take advantage of Chicago and
help them feel more confident taking advantage of the city’s resources.
By implementing this class, we are encouraging students to use their U-Pass
to explore certain areas of the city and take advantage of internship positions year
round. Being IIT students we’ve noticed that many fellow students pass on
internship opportunities simply because they would not be able to afford the
transportation. Other students have told me that they do not feel safe traveling to a
specific neighborhood in the city and that they have passed on the opportunities
because of it. The yearlong U-Pass in combination with the class will allow
students to explore these internship opportunities with confidence and expand their
education.
How Can This Benefit School
With IIT having 39% international student it should be one of IIT’s priority
to ensure that these students get to explore the city and feel more at home.
According to the Princeton review IIT was labeled 9th in having the least happy
students in the nation. In our survey when asked “how bored do you get on campus
when not doing work, 1 being not at all and 10 being extremely” and an astounding
46 percent of students answered 10. We have seen IIT provide students with the
MTCC and The Bog yet this number is still extremely high. We hope that our plan
to encourage students to explore the city will help this number decrease and
improve students overall happiness. An article written by Teresa M. Amabile from
the Harvard Business Review talks about how happiness can help lead to greater
levels of creativity and productivity. If students are miserable at our school they
are less likely to perform well in their classes and less likely to take advantage of
opportunities around our campus and the city.
Survey
A. How many times a week do you travel into the city? (0-7)
B. Would you say you know the city well? (0-10 ,10 being well)
C. Would you be interested in an ”Explore Chicago” class? (0-10, 10 being
very)
D. How bored do you get on campus when not doing work? (0 - 10, 10 being
extremely)
E. How much does not having a U-Pass during breaks affect you taking
internships? (0 to 10, 10 being extremely)
Budget
One major question that we have yet to talk about is how will this class be
paid for? We have two ideas as to how we will implement the class. One, we can
make it a brand new class that can fill a lower level requirement for students. We
want to ensure that this isn’t a class that is simply added along to the already
existing requirements that a student must fill. We hope to work with the social
science department to incorporate the class to provide a lower level social science
credit. We feel there is flexibility in the coursework that our class provides and we
can shape it to better fit for a social science credit. This should be done to
minimize the total amount of credits a student must pay for to obtain a degree.
The second implementation of this class integrates it directly on top of
already existing courses in IIT. Currently all IIT students have to take an intro to
professions class when first entering this school. We feel that by adding a credit
hour into the intro to professions classes we can also provide the coursework of our
explore Chicago class. We feel that as part of exploring your new profession you
should also explore vital places that play a role to it. The total cost added to
students and the school would be represented as the extra credit hours needed for
the course.
Timeline
2014
●
●
●
2015
●
●
●
2016
●
●
●
Begin working with CTA to allow yearlong U-passes for students.
Begin working with existing departs to find best place for the class
Decide which of two solutions works best for IIT
Offer the class as an optional course for interested students
At end of fall semester, have students fill out course evaluation.
If results look positive, begin preparing the course for the next fall semester.
Introduce class as mandatory for incoming freshman.
Allow currents students to take the class optionally.
Begin distributing yearlong U-passes
Problem Analysis
Some would oppose this change because the costs for the university would
increase. They would have to pay for professors to teach the class. However, the
value of a happier student body and a better IIT image outweighs these costs. It
will relieve stress for students and make the university more appealing for future
students. Another argument would be that this class does not provide academic
benefits for the students. On the other hand, this class helps build confidence in
students and allows them to explore and find job and internship opportunities.
Some might also question whether students would take full advantage of a
yearlong U-pass. We believe that students will take advantage since it allows for
better access to the city and encourages commuter students to participate in
summer and winter break internships.
Conclusion
IIT is located in one of the most important cities of the United States and
students should get most out of their experience here. The university should look to
providing the best for its students. Giving students a year long U-Pass will allow
them to explore opportunities around the city and open up new doors for them. The
proposed class will allow students to better take advantage of the what the city of
Chicago has to offer. Our proposal gives students the push they need to both enjoy
the city, and take advantage of its many opportunities.
References
Huffington Post article on happiness
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marilyn-tam/how-to-be-happy-atwork_b_3648000.html
Harvard Business Review
http://hbr.org/2011/05/the-power-of-small-wins/
Princeton review IIT
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/28/the-10-colleges-with-the_n_1116156.html#s500067&title=Illinois_Institute_of
IIT Facts
http://www.iit.edu/about/pdfs/quick_facts_brochure.pdf
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