Worcester Student Government Association
Description and Executive Summary
On November 16, 2017, the Worcester Student Government Association (WSGA) launched their 2017 survey with the assistance of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau. This twenty-three question survey asked current undergraduate and graduate college students in the Worcester consortium about their time as a student living in Worcester, Massachusetts. This survey covers six important aspects of a student’s life: city living, safety, transportation, participation of events in the city, housing preferences, and plans after graduation. We received 520 responses from students from Anna Maria College, Assumption College, Becker College, Clark University, College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – Worcester, Worcester State University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. WSGA delegates promoted the survey on their respective campuses through social media, campus-wide emails, word-of-mouth, tabling, and other campus promotions and advertisement. The survey officially closed on December 31, 2017.
Key Highlights and Insights
- 2018: 27%
- 2019: 25%
- 2020: 22%
- 2021: 26%
Out of those students, only 17 identified as graduate students.
Overall Satisfaction: The majority of students are satisfied living in Worcester (55%), 24% responded “neutral” and 20% of students indicated they are not satisfied living in the city.
Transportation: More students feel it is easy to access downtown (43%) than the 31% who do not. However, more than 86% of students have never used Worcester’s public transportation to travel within the city. Less than two percent of students use the WRTA buses more than six times a month. Students primarily use their own cars or Uber to get around – less than six percent use taxis. The suggestion of a college shuttle did come up a few times in open-response questions. However, more students suggested that transportation could be improved if there were more bus stops/routes near their college/university and better information about using the WRTA from their college/university.
Compared to the WSGA transportation survey conducted in the fall of 2014, over 68% students stated that they never used the WRTA. This means we have seen an 18% increase of students not utilizing the WRTA in these three years.
Events: More than 45% of students do not attend events off-campus and only 49% say they attend events off-campus one to three times each month. The three most popular events in Worcester among students are concerts at the DCU Center, StART on the Street/at the Station and the Shrewsbury Street Shuffle. The majority of students (69%) said they stay on their campuses most of the time. More students felt uninformed on happenings in Worcester (44%) than those who felt informed (29%). When asked what types of events students want to see in the city, many suggested having art and cultural events with food, such as festivals, parades, and music events.
Downtown: When asked what types of businesses college students would like to see in Downtown Worcester, most responded with having a focus on retail spaces that include budget-friendly food spaces, such as Chipotle, or some type of entertainment spaces, such as a movie theatre or 18+ clubs.
Housing:For students graduating in May 2018, 18% plan to stay in Worcester, 49% do not and 33% had not yet decided. The majority of students (66%) said that if they were to stay in Worcester after graduation, that they would prefer to live in an affordable apartment.
Safety: 35% of students responded that they do not feel safe in Worcester, while 29% do feel safe. When asked what contributes to a student’s feeling of safety in the city, many responded with having more police presence and better street lighting in more locations.
Walkability: Students are split on whether they consider Worcester “pedestrian friendly,” with 35% responding that it is and 30% responding that it is not. The remaining respondents were neutral on the matter (35%).
These results show us that there is an opportunity to engage students. From the survey results, it is apparent that students want to get off campus and explore Worcester, but they just don’t have the knowledge of the events happening and most don’t have access to transportation readily available or the know-how to use the WRTA. As we move forward, we know these are continuous trends and issues students face each year. Therefore, we are confident that there are tangible solutions to these problems. We promise to work collaboratively with the various parties involved and continue to be the voice of students in the City of Worcester.
The Worcester Student Government Association Executive Board
Emilee Cocuzzo, President
Bryanna Tobin, Vice-President
Michael Brooks, Treasurer
Max Spiegelhoff, Clerk