Marywood’s ‘Open Van’ Ready to Roll

MARYWOOD UNIVERSITY, Pa. -- Two college students came up with an idea to make their college experience a little better and took that idea right to the university president.

The two Marywood students went to their university president this summer to make a pitch similar to one you'd see on the ABC show "Shark Tank."

They had an idea that fills a need on campus, and they had a way to monetize it.

So, the Marywood "Open Van" was born.

Fellow Marywood University students and good friends Dimitri Thompson and Kendall Farrell were fighting boredom this summer when they came up with an idea.

It wasn't an assignment or even extra credit. They pitched their idea to Marywood's president.

"It's awesome that we've been given the opportunity to, you know, bring an idea of ours to fruition. It's amazing," Thompson said.

That idea is now parked in front of the Nazareth Student Center. It's called the Marywood "Open Van."

"Being on campus and not having access to a vehicle, or having to ask friends for rides all the time, we thought about an idea for a shuttle for Marywood where students can pay a small fare of $2 to go anywhere locally in the community," Farrell explained.

For $2 each way, up to 12 students can use the van six days a week.

"Uber is convenient, but the shuttle is ours. It's Marywood's, and in retrospect, it's cheaper than Uber," Farrell said.

"There's no logistical concerns, you can just get in a shuttle and go and have fun with your friends," Thompson said.

The shuttle is meant to connect Marywood students to other parts of Lackawanna County, including downtown Scranton and about a dozen different locations, all accessible on a schedule on Marywood's website. Students can go shop, grab something to eat, even bowl.

NET Credit Union helped pay for the purchase of the van to get the business started. Their investment is in good hands.

Farrell and Thompson have a good understanding of their clientele. They used free sandwiches as a way to lure in their first customers.

"Sometimes you have to wait for a friend to come drive you, because I don't personally have a car on campus, so it's just nicer than having to wait because sometimes they might have practice when you're free," said Marywood student Hillary Kossou.

"It's a lot more convenient than, like, packing in a car with a whole bunch of friends, so it's something I'll use," added student Justin Mantilla.

Not only is the Open Van convenient for students, it's also an opportunity.  There are already a few student employees driving the van as part of a work-study program.

2 comments

  • Jeanne K Laktash

    Marywood used to have a similar thing when i was a student called SMARTRide that did a similar thing, but it was free

    • Charlie 42

      I was just going to say that. Used that quite a bit back in the day. I can’t believe Marywood couldn’t afford to purchase this vehicle without the help of NET credit union..

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