Campus Winner
Month: May 2013


Educational Program of the Month
Cash Cab: Comet Edition

School: The University of Texas at Dallas Region: SWACURH
Person in charge: John Carrillo Nominator: Andrew Smith and Olivia Belli

Target Population: 100 Time Needed to Organize: 2 weeks
Number of People in Attendance: 150 Date(s) of Program: 5/2/2013
Number of People Needed to Organize: 2 Cost of Program: $230
On-Campus Population: 3100 Chapter Size: 31

Origin of Program:

As the school year began to wind to a close, the Comet Chapter of NRHH wanted to provide one last program for students to enjoy before they embarked on the arduous task of final exams. The Executive Board of the chapter had long been discussing their desire to implement a program named "Cash Cab: Comet Edition", and the timing worked out perfectly for members and students to be able to enjoy the program at its best. Hosted on one of the last day of classes, the Comet Chapter Executive Board understood the difficulty students have in making it to class while trying to study for finals. The goal for the Cash Cab was to provide students with a fun and engaging way to get to class hoping to highlight the academic pillar of NRHH in a fun and exciting way. Similarly in the show "Cash Cab", students would enter a Comet Cruiser (a golf cart designated by UTD Transportation to take students to campus buildings) and would be surprised with an air horn and questions to answer. The Comet Chapter was also proud in its first-time partnering with Parking and Transportation Services, who provided the "cab" and driver.

Word Count: 198

Please give a short description of the program:

Cash Cab: Comet Edition was hosted on Thursday, May 2nd, during the last week of classes. The NRHH Executive Board saw that the residential life community at UT Dallas was beginning to become stressed over finals and class attendance was beginning to decline. The Comet Chapter realized that the academic pillar was in dire need of being represented but wanted to engage residents in an active and fun activity for all to enjoy. This is how the idea of Cash Cab: Comet Edition was born! From 9AM to 12PM, when students were leaving their Residence Halls to go to class, the Comet Cruiser (a golf cart hosted by the UTD Department of Transportation that normally takes students to class) would make its rounds picking students up. The difference on this day however is that an NRHH executive board member and John Carrillo, the NRHH advisor (with an air horn), were sitting in the Comet Cruiser waiting to surprise student riders with trivia and the option to win candy and free movie vouchers. Once students entered the Comet Cruiser, the horn was sounded and the students consented to the game. A series of questions, ranging from UT Dallas history to NRHH trivia, challenged the students and tested the knowledge retained by the primarily freshman participants. If the individual was able to avoid answering 3 questions incorrectly before they reached their destination, they received a voucher for a free movie screening at the local Studio Movie Grill. However, if 3 questions were answered incorrectly, the game was over. However, the Comet Chapter deviated from the rules of the TV Game Show, in that instead of kicking the participants out of our cab, the contestent simply received a bag of candy as a consolation prize and was delivered to their destination. This program utilized every member of the executive board and general members were encouraged to attend. It was evident throughout the morning that students were thankful for NRHH making their day and providing some excitement to what many thought would be a 'normal' Thursday morning.

Word Count: 344

Goals of the program:

The primary goal of this program was to provide students with an exciting way to attend class and relieve stress while garnering exposure for the Comet Chapter at UT Dallas. The route that the Comet Cruiser took the morning of the event was throughout the three residence halls on the north side of campus, a distance away from some classroom buildings and with mostly freshman students. This population was targeted because many freshman are overwhelmed with their second group of finals, and this was the most concentrated group of on-campus residents the Comet Chapter could target. Providing exposure of NRHH to this group of students was vital to our future recruitment efforts. Furthermore, the second goal of this program was to assess and expand the knowledge that students had regarding both our university and our chapter. Finally, the chapter needed an opportunity to celebrate our Academic Pillar one final time for the year, as it had been neglected somewhat over the course of a hectic semester and NRHM.

Word Count: 168

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

Students in the residence halls were mentioning how much they enjoyed the program and many garnered interest in the National Residence Hall Honorary. By encouraging and rewarding students attending classes by offering prizes, the Chapter hoped to instill in many freshman students that attending class, especially during the last week of class, was still important for their performance. Students were also able to learn facts about UT Dallas and The National Residence Hall Honorary which will last them throughout their time at UT Dallas, and even after they graduate. A positive impression of the Comet Chapter was also left to the student body at UT Dallas. Being a relatively new chapter, there were students at UT Dallas that did not know about the National Residence Hall Honorary and what it stands for. By the chapter introducing this program to such a large population of on- campus students, many are now familiar with the Comet Chapter and NRHH as a whole. The Residential Life professional staff at UT Dallas were also very impressed with the program which opens up opportunities for the Comet Chapter in terms of opportunities as a whole.

Word Count: 190

Short evaluation of the program:

The program as a whole was a resounding success. All students who participated had an outstanding time, and we were able to achieve all of our goals. Various members of our chapter and Peer Advisors overheard students discussing the program over the several days after its execution, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Students drastically increased their awareness of our chapter, and many inquired about the process of joining next semester. Furthermore, the professional staff in our department was also incredibly supportive of the program, and we heard nothing but good things from them about it. This program could be considered a success on all fronts. The only critique would be that we had only a limited number of movie tickets and candy bags to distribute, as the program easily could have extended into a full-day event. Also taking advantage of another Comet Cruiser route could expand the impact of this program if it were to be hosted again. Having more NRHH representatives on the Comet Cruiser could have also made it possible to have more than one game going on at once to increase the number of students able to play.

Word Count: 193

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

This program is easily adaptable to other campuses. All that is required is an access to a golf cart or other transportation mechanism and a list of NRHH and campus-related questions. This program could also be incorporated with other student life offices as the campus saw fit. The rules are very simple, and most people seem to be familiar with the rules prior to participating. Luckily, the rules are very simple and can quickly be explained for students that are in a rush to reach their destination. The timing of the program would of course need to be adjusted to account for the academic calendar and student activity patterns for the particular campus. While movie tickets and candy served as a great reward for UT Dallas students, other college campuses could choose prizes that better fit their student body such as spirit gear or a local restaurant voucher.

Word Count: 149

Date of entry into database: 2013-05-27 15:45:07