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BY: Wilson Coughenour

When I first arrived at JMU, all the information felt overwhelming, including learning how to use the bus system, and relying on my own two feet to carry me places. I still wish someone had spent just a bit of time overviewing some etiquette guidelines for traveling around campus because it took all of us a while to catch on to the rules that would allow everyone to travel more quickly

The following list is a collection of basic etiquette guidelines for when you are traveling around campus. Although some of these may seem unimportant, little things such as giving your seat to an exhausted passenger or someone with a twisted ankle can make their day.


  1. Do let people off the bus before you try to board. This allows for a more efficient and polite transition for those off and on the bus. If you board before the others disembark, you’ll find yourself in the awkward situation of squeezing to the side of the bus while trying to let them out. Besides just avoiding that situation, there also may be a disabled or elderly person who may need a little extra time leaving, and barging in without waiting will do nothing but slow them down more!
  1. Do form an orderly line when boarding the bus.

    There can be quite a crowd waiting for the bus when it arrives, so form a single file line and wait for your turn. Do not push or shove in order to score a seat on the bus.
  1. Do give seats up to those who need them more.

    Give your seat to the elderly and those who may be injured or disabled


  1. Don’t take up more than one seat with your belongings

    When sitting on the bus, make sure that you don’t put your bag/package on the seat(s) next to you, especially on a crowded bus when seats are limited.
  1. Do be courteous and thankful to the bus drivers!

    The bus drivers are driving the same route and dealings with college kids all day, so when you get on don’t be afraid to offer a simple “hello”.  Although on a crowded bus yelling “thank you across” 20 people may not be the best option, offer your thanks to the driver when you can.
  1. Don’t block the doors.

    When on a bus full of other students, you may find yourself next to the doors. If this happens, keep your belongings away from the doors when they close, and when people exit/enter the bus, create ample room for them.On a full bus, sometimes you’ll find yourself standing next to the doors. If this happens, don’t hesitate to either move in more so that others can get on, or to simply step off the bus, so that others getting off can exit quickly. When the last one leaves, quickly step back on the bus.
  1. Don’t play music so loud others can hear Although your love for “Screamo” may be abundant, the people around you may not enjoy it as much. Make sure that when you’re riding the bus; your music volume doesn’t irritate other riders
  1. Do cover your mouth when you sneeze/cough. On a campus of 20,000+ students, you can easily pass on or catch a bug that is going around campus. Covering your mouth reduces the spread of germs, particularly on a crowded bus.
  1. Do put your backpack by feet when bus is crowded.

    This allows for more room on a crowded bus, and every inch counts when you are shoulder to shoulder. It may seem like a small gesture, but it really does help!


  1. Don’t eat on the bus! While you might choose something like a granola bar or apple, don’t try to eat your Burger Studio Philly Cheese Steak while standing on a crowded bus. Not only can things like this be messy, the smell can also be bothersome to the other passengers.



  1. Do walk with a purpose!

    Although the hills and stairs of JMU’s campus can be tiresome, when you are walking on a side walk, especially when they are busy, refrain from walking as if you are a zombie. Walk like you have a place to go even if you don’t because the people behind you may!
  1. Don’t become lost in your phone while walking in a busy area.

    Not only do you increase the chances you’ll walk into somebody, but you become an obstacle for those behind you.
  1. Don’t just walk out into a street and expect the cars/busses to stop for you. Most people will let you cross if you are mindful.

    Just because you are a pedestrian, don’t assume that cars, buses, or other vehicles will stop for you whether you’re on a crosswalk or not. Try to make eye contact with the drivers before you try to cross.I promise you, you will not win in the collision, so just be mindful.
  1. Don’t walk shoulder to shoulder while in a group. While walking around the gorgeous campus is always better with a companion or two, when you are walking in a group don’t walk side by side. Not only are you blocking the sidewalk for others, but also your pace may slow accidentally while enjoying your friends which creates even more of an obstruction.
  1. Do hold the doors for people. At JMU people are expected to hold the doors for each other when possible. It takes nearly no time or effort, but it displays the kind and connected campus that we get to enjoy on a daily basis.ALWAYS look behind you and hold the door if someone if within the appropriate distance. (Usually 5-8 feet)

One more thought:

Just to reiterate, these do’s and don’ts are TIPS for you incoming freshman so that you feel more relaxed. They may seem like common sense or a little childish, but they aid in creating the best kind of environment. No etiquette police will enforce these suggestions, so if you don’t follow this list of tips, you won’t be punished. However, imagine how happy you’ll be to note the coughing person trying to avoid spreading germs, or the fellow rider who offers you a seat because you look (and feel) exhausted. Good deeds often multiply, so try your best to do your part to encourage community here at JMU.