In response to fewer food options available on the Mount Vernon Campus, the University launched a shuttle service this month that brings students to popular shopping areas in the city.
This January the University cut hours at Ames Dining Hall, the campus’ main eating venue. In mid-April, GW responded to student concern about access to food options on the campus by sponsoring a trial run of a shuttle program transporting students from Mount Vernon to Tenleytown, a neighborhood in Northwest D.C. that houses a variety of shopping and food venues.
Matt Tisdale, marketing coordinator for event and special services at the Mount Vernon Campus, said the shuttle had a MacArthur Boulevard stop and a Tenleytown stop. MacArthur Boulevard is home to a variety of restaurants and stores, while the Tenleytown stop has shopping options including Whole Foods, Safeway and Best Buy.
“While not Foggy Bottom, (the Mount Vernon Campus) is still part of D.C. and connected to the city,” said Robert Snyder, director of Mount Vernon Campus Life and Marketing.
During the trial program last week, 17 students utilized the shuttle’s services during the four hours it operated. Snyder and Tisdale agreed the run was a success considering the severe thunderstorms that hit the District on the day of the trial.
Tisdale said another run is scheduled for the fall semester and at that time he and Snyder will make a final decision on whether to create a regular schedule for the shuttle service.
“Whether or not this shuttle is implemented on a more regular basis in the future depends upon continued demand for it as well as the availability of University funding to support it,” Snyder said.
Student Association Executive Vice President-elect Brand Kroeger said that the trial run of the shuttle is a good idea because it allows students to explore more dining options.
“The Vern, especially in late hours, is not provided as many eating venues,” Kroeger said. “It’s great that the University is actively working to improve Mount Vernon Campus life.”
At the start of this semester, GW cut the hours of operation at the Ames Dining Hall due to decreased use of the dining venue, said Nancy Haaga, managing director of Campus Support Services.
“Currently, at MVC, the majority of customers patronize Ames Dining Hall during the lunchtime hours, Monday through Friday,” Haaga said.
Early morning, evening and weekend hours see the number of customers drop to two or three customers per hour, she said.