The Happy Bus offers SRU students a pick-me-up during winter’s wrath
Rachel Thompson, one the Happy Bus drivers at Slippery Rock University, picks up students at one of seven locations on campus, making a continuous, 20-minute on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
March 2, 2022
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Getting around campus in the winter can sometimes make Slippery Rock University students feel down, but thanks to the Happy Bus, there is literally a pick-me-up.
Funded by the Slippery Rock Student Government Association, the Happy Bus provides on- and off-campus transportation for SRU students. This system of shuttles offers a safe alternative for navigating the campus, not only during the cold winter months, but throughout the academic year, without any fares.
"We encourage ridership because it gives protection from the elements, cuts down on the number of vehicles on campus, and is environmentally friendly," said Wendy Leitera, executive director of SGA. "Students also pay for this service through their student activity fee at the beginning of the year, so it is beneficial to take advantage of it."
Amanda Noll, a senior early childhood and special education major from North Huntingdon, also attests to the usefulness of the Happy Buses.
"Living in Building F and having most of my classes across campus in the McKay Education Building, I find the Happy Bus to be especially convenient for me," said Noll. "It saves me a lot of time, and I appreciate how it goes on a 20-minute loop. You never have to wait too long."
There are three concurrent Happy Buses, two of which take students off campus. For students to distinguish which bus they need, the buses are labeled above the windshield and the on-campus shuttle is white and green, while the off-campus bus is black and green.
On weekdays, the shuttles operate from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the on-campus shuttle making a continuous 20-minute loop to seven different central locations, including the Smith Student Center, Weisenfluh Dining Hall and Watson Hall, connecting SRU's upper and lower campus.
The two off-campus shuttles travel to other locations frequented by SRU students. One travels to eight locations during a 30-minute loop, including The Heights apartment complex, Giant Eagle grocery store and others. The other off-campus bus, also running on a 30-minute loop, goes to the other apartment complexes including The Grove, Pine Glen, Campus Side and other stops.
The Happy Buses also provide an evening schedule, Mondays through Thursdays, from 4:30-9 p.m. on a 45-minute loop throughout campus and the community..
Rachel Thompson is one of the regular Happy Bus drivers for the on-campus route. . During her daily routine, she recognizes students who frequently use the service and has become familiar with some.
"I try to engage with the students when I can," said Thompson. "I ask them about their day and where they are going, so I can get to know them a little bit."
Thompson also takes the safety of her riders seriously, especially during the winter months, with sometimes icy roads and sidewalks. She ensures the students make it safely off the bus and in the direction of their destination before leaving, so she would be available to help students in case of an emergency.
She additionally commends the SRU riders for their politeness and respect and encourages more students to join her during the day.
"I do my best to make it a truly happy bus," said Thompson. "I try to always be on schedule, interact with riders, and get them to where they need to be in a shorter amount of time. If anything, students have a happy, goofy driver waiting to help them out."
Anyone wanting to use the Happy Bus should download the NextBus app, where riders can conveniently keep track of the buses' current location. SGA's website also features more information about schedules and tracking.
Also, any students interested in serving on an SGA ad hoc committee for making improvements to the Happy Bus system, can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Hillary Twiford | 724.738.4854 | email@example.com