Videos that stick

While the University of Utah’s “A Bicycle Friendly Campus” video is more promotional in nature, some aspects are still worth considering for JMU’s transportation video. Utah focuses on current bike initiatives the university is funding; the same could be done with our plans (bicycling permitted on all sidewalks, a bike path that goes through the heart of campus, bike repair services in UREC). JMU, like Utah, is also considered a “Bicycle Friendly Campus,” yet our video does not highlight distinctions like these. Looking back to UC Davis’s transportation video from “Pack a punch,” JMU should also consider adding a call to action for the students. JMU’s mission statement, which President Alger recites at the start of the video, focuses on creating productive and active members of society. By calling to action this mission and encouraging students to develop active and healthy habits now, the video will resonate deeply.

Underlying these ideas from Utah that JMU should take note of is the “sticky story” Utah has created. Utah shows, through its many campus amenities, that they welcome and encourage biking. JMU tries to communicate a similar message, but lumps this “big idea” in with the safety/cautionary message of biking rules. These are two separate messages that deserve either two separate videos or a clear distinction within the freshman orientation video. It is extremely important to caution and educate new students about campus biking and walking, but the university also must encourage the practices instead of warning of the disadvantages. At the same time, JMU must emphasize our welcoming culture in the message to encourage sustainable commuting. While there is work still to be done to make the campus even more bike-friendly, our transportation video should better emphasize the work that already exists within campus for this accommodation and inclusion.

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