This semester, a group of University of Dayton students formed goDayton, an organization focused on providing students with a connection to events and culture in downtown Dayton.
According to goDayton’s Facebook page, the group encourages UD students to go “beyond the bubble” into the vibrant and active city just beyond the borders of campus. The goDayton team organizes transportation to downtown happenings and promotes the city’s many restaurants, markets, bikeways and more.
AJ Ferguson, president of goDayton, explained the creation of an organization aimed at connecting students to downtown was a collaborative effort.
“The idea of creating something like goDayton came from a group of students who met almost two years ago with Dr. Curran and Sandy Gudorf, the president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership,” Ferguson said. “The meeting identified a shared desire to encourage UD students to discover how surprisingly fun downtown Dayton can be.”
Ferguson, a fifth year mechanical engineering major, said a team of students began establishing what would become goDayton in the spring of 2011. The Center for Social Concern, the Fitz Center and the Rivers Institute helped identify a number of student leaders who would represent diverse cross-sections of the student body. In September of this semester, those students finalized a structure for the organization and began exploring possible projects and programs.
Matt Deininger, goDayton’s social media coordinator, said the organization’s first event was Nov. 17 as goDayton provided a free shuttle service from Marianist Hall to three locations downtown: the Oregon District, Third Street and Main Street.
“We had 35 people use the shuttle,” Deininger said. “For our first event, it was a good turnout.”
According to Deininger, goDayton is using social media and help from students to get its name and services spread across campus.
“We’ve promoted [the organization] mainly through Facebook and the recent event we had,” Deininger said. “Word of mouth has really helped us. Most of the people who used the shuttle said they had heard about us from a friend. People are telling their friends about how much fun they are having downtown.”
Steve Majkowksi, a junior entrepreneurship major, utilized the shuttle service provided by goDayton and dined at one of the many restaurants in the downtown area.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Majkowski said. “It was easy. The shuttle was free. And it was nice to do something off of UD’s campus for once.”
While Deininger said goDayton aims to give students something new to do on the weekends, he also said involving students in the downtown community is a vital goal of the organization.
“Our university is part of the city of Dayton community,” Deininger said. “It’s important to get students who come from around the country to experience the vibrant community that is downtown Dayton.”
Deininger, a junior management information systems major, mentioned the group does not have any other events planned this semester, but are in the process of coordinating shuttles and activities for the spring semester.
For more information about goDayton, visit the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/goDayton or e-mail email@example.com.