January 29, 2018

Survey: Worcester college students say city needs to improve

File Photo
Students at Worcester colleges, including WPI (pictured here) say city life for students needs to improve.

A new survey of 520 Worcester-area college students found city life for students needs some work.

The Worcester Student Government Association, a consortium of students from Greater Worcester colleges and universities, on Friday released a poll of students on living in the city, and a majority said they don't plan on sticking around after graduation.

When asked if they plan to stay in the city, 49 percent said they do not, while just 18 percent said they will. Another 33 percent were undecided.

The responses came from students at 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. The Worcester Regional Research Bureau assisted the WSGA.

When asked of access to downtown, 43 percent said it was easy to get downtown, while 31 percent said the opposite. However, 86 percent said they have never used the city's public transportation to get around, and less than 2 percent said they use a WRTA bus more than six times a month.

Compared to a previous WSGA survey from 2014, fewer students are using public transit now, as 68 percent of students in 2014 said they never used the WRTA bus.

The preferred method of transportation is their own vehicle or an Uber, the most recent survey found.

Students aren't going out in the city much, the 2018 survey found, as 45 percent don't attend off-campus events and only 49 percent said they attend off-campus events one to three times a month.

Almost 70 percent of students said they stay on campus most of the time, and 44 percent of students said they feel uninformed about off-campus events, compared to the 29 percent who feel the opposite.

When asked, students wanted to see more art and cultural events with food and music.

Survey respondents said the city could be more safer, as just 29 percent said they feel safe, compared to 35 percent who don't feel safe. A larger police presence and better street lighting would help, the students said.

"The results show us that there is an opportunity to engage students," said Emilee Cocuzzo, president of the WSGA. "As we move forward, we know these are continuous trends and issues that students face each year."

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