Search Close Search
Search Close Search
Page Menu

Student Commuter Challenge

Getting in to school was a big accomplishment. Now the challenge is how to get to school.

If your default option is driving to campus alone, then it’s time to consider the alternatives and compete for prizes in the new Student Commuter Challenge organized by the Student Government Association, the UMass Chan Medical School Growing Green team and the state’s MassRIDES program.

“I thought it would be important to put sustainability in the forefront of students’ minds at the beginning of the year,” said Kara Kennedy, a second-year medical student and member of the SGA who proposed the idea of a student commuter challenge. “This way people can plan early for carpools and other options and it will have an impact all year long.”

The challenge begins Sept. 4 and runs through Oct. 5. The “teams” competing are students in the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing, the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the T.H. Chan School of Medicine's “Houses” or learning communities.  The challenge will be run through the Bay State Commute program, the state’s online tool that promotes ride sharing and offers rewards for people who log multiple “green trips” such as walking, bike riding, carpooling, taking public transportation or even telecommuting. Any activity that avoids a solo trip in a car earns points that can be redeemed for rewards.

To participate in the challenge, students are encouraged to visit  and register. Commuters can track their green trips and find people to carpool with through the online tool or by downloading the new Bay State Commute mobile app for free from either the Apple or Google Play app stores.

“Having the app is great,” Kennedy said. “It reaches a much larger network of people who will use it on their phones.”

Teams will earn one point for each of their students who joins the program. Three points will be awarded for each team member who participates in the Try It Day promotion. During the entire month, one point will be awarded for every 10 green miles logged through the app.

The winning team will be treated to a pizza party. All students who participate in the challenge and log green trips will be entered in drawings to win a $25 Amazon gift card and a $50 L.L. Bean gift card. Furthermore, students who log multiple green trips will qualify for a wide range of rewards offered through the Bay State Commuter program, including discounts at many area stores, restaurants and entertainment venues.

“We are really excited to see UMass Chan Medical School take the initiative to encourage behavioral change as students are creating their schedules for the academic year,” said Patrick Higgins, outreach coordinator at MassRIDES. “UMass is really taking the lead to improve the environment and reduce congestion by promoting green trips the Worcester area.”

Formerly known as NuRide, the program was rebranded as Bay State Commute earlier this year. Commuters who had an active NuRide account were automatically migrated to the Bay State Commute program.  Former NuRide users who had not logged a green trip in over a year will have to re-register through the Bay State Commute page.

Anyone interested in the challenge can learn more at the Student Activities Fair on Sept. 4. Also watch for informational tables on campus on Sept. 12 and 18.

“Students in all three schools are committed to improving public health and having a healthy environment is an important part of that,” Kennedy said. “So, I hope everyone signs up, and enjoys a little friendly competition."