SGA announces free Uber transportation for students and changes in grants to student organizations. Collegiate archive photo.
EMMA SCHAEFER | STAFF JOURNALIST | [email protected]
Since the start of the fall semester, the Butler’s Student Government Association, SGA, has implemented several new initiatives. Changes to the Uber transportation service and student organization fundraising process continued throughout the start of this semester.
On October 8, SGA relaunched the Uber transport system, after originally launched the partnership in August 2019. Lucas Rhodes, a major junior in economics and SGA chief of staff, said that in the first week and a half of the relaunch, the program provided 204 courses to Butler’s students.
Students received an email on October 8 announcing the relaunch of the program and included an Uber enrollment guide explaining the steps to plan a free ride. With the SGA Uber service, students can benefit from free transportation to and from Indianapolis Airport for the three days before and after each break. Students can also get free transportation to nearby health centers. Each student can also get $ 5 off uber rides at select grocery stores.
“The vast majority of trips have been to and from Indy Airport for breaks,” Rhodes said. “And so far we’ve spent $ 7,242.78.”
Rhodes said it took longer than expected to relaunch the program due to Uber and university policies.
“The biggest thing we had to wait for was that we had to take the college census,” Rhodes said. “This is limited to undergraduates who pay the student activity fee. So, all undergraduates who pay these fees are enrolled in the Uber program and can take advantage of the services we offer. ”
SGA has $ 45,000 allocated to the Uber transportation program for the entire 2021-22 school year, Rhodes said. SGA plans to stay within the program’s budget, but wants to ensure that students have access to it year-round.
First-year psychology student Naiya Rooks used SGA’s Uber partnership to get to the Indianapolis airport. In an email to Butler Collegian, she said planning the ride was easy and took a lot of stress away from her. She said she definitely plans to use the service again.
Another change to the SGA this semester was the process for funding student organizations. Cade Chezem, a junior major in biology and President of the SGA Senate, said in the past it was too difficult to secure funds for student organizations.
“We want it to be as easy as possible to get money [to students], but we still want to make sure that we keep track of it and that we are fiscally responsible, ”Chezem said.
The main difference was the approval process. Previously, requests had to go through the SGA Finance Board. Now, applications go through the SGA Senate. Student organizations are invited to complete the online application which will be examined by the credits committee. Once the committee approves the request, the Senate must vote on the request and will send the money if approved. Chezem said green grants are also new this year.
According to SGA website, green grants are, “expenses incurred in the corresponding academic year and used to promote environmental educational initiatives, projects or events.
“This year my goal and that of the other members of SGA Leadership is to continue to focus on sustainability by putting this money in the hands of students and thus increasing the number of sustainability initiatives on campus,” Chezem said.
Chezem said that last year, SGA was only able to fund 70-75% of grant applications. Now SGA has said it is able to fund the request in full.
“In the past, you had to run a deficit in your student activities account to be able to apply for a grant and we said that was not financially responsible,” Chezem said. “We want to make sure that the students get this money, so, however, we can do it to the best of our ability, which is what we wanted to do.”
On October 24, the LGBTQIA + Alliance hosted its annual drag show, funded through the SGA student organizations funding process. Will Kissler, a sophomore computer science and computer engineering student and vice president of the LGBTQIA + Alliance, said the SGA has awarded the requested total of $ 2,500 for the event.
Kissler said the LGBTQIA + Alliance used grant money and a $ 1,000 donation from the Diversity Center to pay for drag queens, emcees and snacks at the event. The grant process took about a month, which was longer than Kissler expected, due to Senate meeting interruptions.
“If they had met it would have been good, it was just fluke in their schedule,” Kissler said. “So I mean it was really bad luck. Even considering the difficulties, the Senate has been very helpful and said to itself “we are going to make this happen”.
Students can find more information about the Uber transportation service and information on grant applications by visiting the site. SGA website.