Through the work of Phi Theta Kappa students, Cowley College offered a weekly shuttle to Walmart for students as a pilot program in November 2020.
The free shuttle took students from the main campus in Arkansas City to Walmart and gave them time to shop for groceries and essential items. There were 10 participants for the first shuttle on Nov. 13 and 11 participants for the second shuttle on Nov. 19.
Phi Theta Kappa students had done research on transportation on college campuses in the fall 2019 semester. That research, combined with the increased use of the student pantry, led to an understanding that many students on the main campus do not have reliable transportation, or any transportation at all, to go to the store for groceries and supplies.
The chapter proposed starting a weekly shuttle running to Walmart to the college administration as part of their college project to gain Five Star Status from the national Phi Theta Kappa organization. Their goal was to make it easier for any student on campus to have regular access to the items they need from the store.
The PTK officers conducted a survey of participants after taking the shuttle. The shuttle in particular helped student-athletes and international students without cars living on campus. Students rated their satisfaction with the shuttle on average a 9.6 out of 10. More than one student said, “Thank you so much for your help.”
Two of the PTK officers, Shelby White and Trevor McDowell, managed the shuttle runs and expressed how thankful the participants were that Cowley considered their needs and provided a service to support them. The PTK members learned how important transportation is to the everyday lives of Cowley students through this project. They now hope to establish the Walmart Shuttle as a regular service on campus.