Students now have a new option for transportation into St. Joseph or St. Cloud besides the weekend shopping bus.
WeCar, a division of Enterprise Rent-A-Car has been started at CSB/SJU. The program is partnered with SJU senior Jessey Niyongabo, the McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
CSB/SJU has signed a one year contract with Enterprise, meaning that this is a test year and continuation is dependent on student involvement and use.
“We hope to get many students involved,” Niyongabo said.
Mike Juntunen, Director of Transportation for CSB, does not see this program interfering with weekend Link service to St. Cloud either.
“Whenever we can give students more options, the student body is better off,” Director of CSB Security Darren Swanson said.
Both Niyongabo and Terri Barriero, director of the McNeely Center, agree that this program can benefit everyone.
“One of the long-term goals of the project is to eventually lower the amount of cars being brought to campus by students,” Barriero said.
Niyongabo, a member of the E-Scholars Program, helped bring WeCar to CSB/SJU because he was interested in helping students who are on campus without a car, like himself. Niyongabo also wanted to make an impact.
“I wanted to make my experience here memorable,” Niyongabo said.
Being an international student from Burundi, Africa, Niyongabo has had no means of leaving campus on his own. He was also a member of the SJU Senate, which has dealt with problems related to students who do have a car on campus, but encounter issues related to parking.
His initial thought was to ask the colleges to purchase a few new vehicles to add to their existing fleet for student use, but this led to restrictions due to age, liability and other factors.
Last year at the Career Fair, Niyongabo met representatives from Enterprise. Niyongabo and John Hager, Director of Business Sales at Enterprise for this area, kept in contact after the Career Fair, which eventually led to WeCar being started this year.
“The most important thing right now is to get the word out,” Niyongabo said.
For those who are interested, signing up is simple. Everyone must register online and pay a one-time $35 fee, and then they are able to sign up for a time to rent the car from their campus.
CSB students and staff may use the Ford Focus located in the Mary Commons parking lot, while SJU students and staff will use the Toyota Prius located in the Mary Hall parking lot.
The WeCars are for any personal use and can be charged for eight dollars an hour, $40 for a day (over five hours) or $60 overnight (6 p.m.- 8 a.m.).
Renters are not liable to pay for gas on their own, but there is a credit card in the glove box that can be used to buy only gas at any station.
As the advertisements around campus say: “Go where you want, when you want, with whom you want.”