Home Education Double Map Initiative, UFund programs introduced to Student Senate

Double Map Initiative, UFund programs introduced to Student Senate

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Student Senate discussed two new initiatives on campus at their second meeting of the semester on Wednesday’s snowy evening.

Off-Campus Life Commissioner Mel Ruberg opened the meeting with a proposal to the committee titled, “Double Map Initiatives.”

Double Map is an app that students could acquire on smart phone devices or look up online to view information regarding the university and city transportation services and routes. The long-term goal is to improve the quality of the transportation services.

Ruberg used Indiana University as an example to show that other colleges are already on board and putting this resource to use.

“Double Map would be used in hopes of increasing rider-ship, posting announcements such as unavailable or late routes and hourly schedules,” said Ruberg. The city is ready to work with the university on this new idea to transform the transportation system, she said.

Students were given surveys to gauge how interested they would be about Double Map. The survey reported that the majority of the 215 students who responded to this survey answered that they would use this app. CATS, Athens Transit and the GoBus were the top three services students stated they would use Double Map for. Comments at the end of the survey were overall positive. Some mentioned that this app would be good for students who were sick, injured, or when Mother Nature is brutal on days such as this past week.

Mostly positive notions came from the surveys except when it came down to the financial portion. When asked if students would be receptive to a tuition increase for the service, the majority surveyed said no, answering 0.0 percent increase of the four percentage options.

One final driving point for Ruberg was its ‘green’ initiative. “Working on synchronizing all buses together will help reduce fuel emissions,” Ruberg said. “Double Map would also track when people get on and off the bus to see which routes are being used and which can be cut out.”

President Zach George introduced the UFund program with the tag line “you dream it, we fund it.” Treasurer Evan Ecos went on to further explain this innovative program. Student Senate is willing to fund any idea or program that involves students that is presented to the committee.

This fund is made possible only through judicial fees that are paid by the students who violate the code of conduct – drugs or alcohol offenses – while on campus. During the 2010-2011 school year alone, there were 2,713 violations of both code A and B of the code of conduct, according to the Division of Student Affairs website. All the judicial fees accumulated from violators of the code of conduct will go straight back to the students, in full, to the Ufund, Ecos said.

“If you have an awesome program, sign up for it. Apply and see what happens,” Ecos said. If an idea intrigues the committee, deriving from a registered student organization or not, the applicant may be asked to give a presentation.

In terms of a spending limit, there is none. An applicant may apply for a program with a spending amount of $200, $2,000, or  $20,000. “We will look at what is feasible. If you ask for $2,000, we may give you $500 or we may give you the full $2,000 if it’s a worthy idea,” stated Ecos.

Ideas or programs that are at the top of the priority list for the committee would be events on high risk days such as a Friday night.

“A program that is planned on a Friday night would take priority over a program that is scheduled for a Saturday afternoon. If it is something that provides a safe alternative to alcohol, is eye catching and is based on merit, it will be worth looking at,” Ecos said.

Student Senate plans on working with Backdrop magazine to advertise and get the word out on what exactly UFund is.  In addition, Student Senate will be advertising in a wide range of canvases such as on cups, posters and print advertisements to help explain this new idea to students. Student Senate hopes to bring new students from all walks of life to rise up and become leaders on campus.

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