By Alysha Webb-Pigg for Eugene Daily News
Every year, the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, better known as ASUO, pull together to decide which programs at the University of Oregon will benefit the student body. One program in particular that the ASUO has had success with is their Shuttle Service.
The ASUO has made sure that there is reliable transportation for University of Oregon students at the push of a button; well, 7 buttons. Currently, the ASUO has three branches of their shuttles service and Lindy Mabuya, who occupy’s Senate seat 3 where she holds responsibilities as finance committee chair, took the time to tell us all about them.
“We have 3 types of shuttle services: we have an accessible shuttle service…for anyone who needs aid getting to campus…from sun down till midnight we have the assault prevention shuttle that recently changes its name to safe ride….and a designated driver shuttle which operates from 10pm-3am,” says Lindy.
These shuttles services are completely free for University of Oregon students, but are still bound by limitations. Currently, the shuttle service only works within 1 mile of campus. Emphasizing the importance of expanding the service and the concern of the ASUO, Lindy says, “We are absolutely open to expansion especially because we recognize the fact housing is so limited so close nearby and the buses don’t run as late as we’ like them to.”
The shuttle service at the University of Oregon is being considered for larger amounts of funding, says Lindy, because the ASUO recognizes how vital this service is for the student population. Even with more funding, Lindy believes there a several flaws that could be fixed with more investment.
Regrettably, she says, “They definitely turn a lot of students away because they are unable to accommodate everybody whether it’s a lack of student employees working that evening or not having access to all of the shuttles for whatever reason.”
Currently, to determine funding amounts, Lindy says, “we look at what [the shuttle service] spent the previous year and how many rides they were giving and how many rides they weren’t giving and we take that into consideration for funding.”
The students who run the shuttle service are responsible for asking the ASUO for funding increases where they see fit.
When asked about how communication works between ASUO and the program, Lindy says, “We do take a holistic view at how the program is looking so the program has the opportunity themselves to come before us and advocate for an increase and they can give us a variety of different reasons.” It is during the winter term that programs like the shuttle service are given a chance to ask for funding increases.
Lindy adds that the ASUO “…is looking to increase [the shuttle service] budget so they can hire more students and give more rides and possibly look at getting GPS systems so they know where they are picking students up… to make their services more efficient.”
This is a completely student run program and is also fully funded by the ASUO. Lindy feels the Administration at the University of Oregon could provide additional funding, which would help the shuttle service a great deal.
“It is primarily students that run this program which I think is phenomenal because they are working incredibly late hours,” says Lindy. Additionally, she is confident that the ASUO will do their best to make this program even better. “We try to do as much as possible with the restrictions that we have,” she adds.
Even with the restrictions, it seems that students at the University of Oregon appreciate the shuttle service, and the ASUO staff will ensure it gets better each year.
Lindy is serving her second year on the ASUO senate. When asked about her favorite part of serving on the senate, Lindy said “I get to find out what all 140 student run programs get to do on campus in very much detail, so I see all of the phenomenal work they are doing and all of the differences they are making.”
Undoubtedly, with a free shuttle service, these University of Oregon programs are making a difference, especially for students who may otherwise be in unsafe conditions. However, without the ASUO and their ability to disperse funds to student groups, who knows whether or not the student shuttle would exist.