Transportation Services hopes to alleviate the long lines and shoulder-to-shoulder bus trips with a request for additional funding.
Since the implementation of the University Advancement Fee, transit funding has been held relatively static despite increases in demand, said Kenneth Kimball, assistant director of fiscal affairs and compliance for transportation services.
“Prior to the implementation of the University Advancement Fee, transit was funded by a student fee which allowed funding for the service to increase proportionately as enrollment increased,” Kimball said.
Kimball said even if the request for additional funding is approved, the money would not be added to the budget until Fall 2015. Kimball said the enrollment increases were not available to Transportation Services at the time 2015 funding requests were due, but funding requests for 2016 will factor in enrollment changes.
For now, Transportation Services is waiting on new buses.
“This past spring, 10 new transit buses were ordered and should be delivered in April ’15,” Kimball said. “This will allow us to take five failing, smaller buses out of service and replace them with larger, higher-capacity transit buses.”
Transportation Services has also requested funding to refurbish current buses.
“Research shows refurbished and remanufactured buses perform as well as or better than new buses,” Kimball said. “Since all components are replaced with new ones, they will look and feel new, too.”
If this funding is approved, Kimball said 15,000 and 20,000 hours of service could be added by Fall 2015. However, student drivers are short-handed as of now.
“We have recently raised our starting student driver rate to $9.50 an hour and will reimburse training expenses in order to attract more applicants,” said Madeline Dillard, assistant director of Transportation Services.
Even though Transportation Services is things coming in the next couple of years as we continue to build that support,” said Jack McReynolds, technical consultant for Elanco.
Derek McKee, co-chair of the 12th Can, said the food pantry opened in 2013 and currently sponsors 270 recipients.
McKee said many international graduate students receive food from the 12th Can because they are using their money for tuition and research.
“By the time that a lot of them are done with their research work, they don’t have a lot of time to go get a full-time job to pay for their food and their housing,” McKee said. “After they pay for their housing to put a roof over their heads, they don’t have a lot of money to provide sustenance for themselves.”
The pantry also assists a large population of staff, specifically groundskeepers and maintenance workers, McKee said, many of which have families to feed.
McKee said he gained his passion for the pantry through personal interactions with the recipients of the food. One recipient returned to the pantry to thank McKee and told him that if not for the 12th Can, she would not have been able to feed her family the night she received food.
Simmons said student volunteers with the 12th Can are among the people who will solve the world hunger crisis.
“We are going to break the cycle of hunger and hungry communities,” Simmons said. “It will be people finding their own hunger to end hunger.”