SGA announces free Uber transportation to students and changes in student organization grants. Collegian file photo.
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Since the start of the fall semester, Butler’s Student Government Association, SGA, has implemented several new initiatives. Changes to the Uber transportation service and student organization funding process have been ongoing throughout the beginning of this semester.
On Oct. 8, SGA re-launched the Uber transportation system, after originally launching the partnership in August 2019. Lucas Rhodes, junior economics major and SGA chief of staff, said within the first week and a half of relaunching, the program supplied 204 rides to Butler students.
Students were sent an email on Oct. 8 that announced the program was relaunched and included an Uber sign-up guide that explains the steps to scheduling a free ride. Through the SGA Uber service, students are able to get free transportation to and from the Indianapolis airport for the three days before and after each break. Students can also get free transportation to health centers in the surrounding areas. Each student is also able to get $5 off uber rides to select grocery stores.
“The vast majority of the rides have been to and from the Indy airport for breaks,” Rhodes said. “And so far we’ve spent $7,242.78.”
Rhodes said that the relaunching of the program took longer than initially expected due to Uber and the university’s policies.
“The biggest thing that we had to wait on was we had to get the university’s census done,” Rhodes said. “It is limited to undergraduate students who pay the student activity fee, and so all the undergraduates that pay that fee get enrolled into the Uber program and can take advantage of the services that we offer.”
SGA has allocated $45,000 to the Uber transportation program for the entire 2021-22 school year, Rhodes said. SGA plans to stay within budget for the program but wants to ensure that students have access to it all year.
First-year psychology major, Naiya Rooks, used SGA’s Uber partnership to go to the Indianapolis airport. In an email to The Butler Collegian, she said it was easy to schedule the ride, and it took a lot of stress off of her. She said she definitely plans on using the service again.
Another change made to SGA this semester was the student organization funding process. Cade Chezem, junior biology major and SGA Speaker of the Senate, said that in the past, it was too difficult to get student organizations funded.
“We want to make it as simple as possible to get money [to students], but we still want to make sure that we are keeping track of it and being fiscally responsible,” Chezem said.
The main difference was the approval process. Before, applications had to go through the SGA finance board. Now, applications go through the SGA Senate. Student organizations are asked to fill out the request online which will be reviewed by the appropriations committee. Once the committee approves of the request, the senate must vote on the request and will send out the money if approved. Chezem said that green grants are also new this year.
According to the SGA website, green grants are, “expenses that are incurred during the corresponding academic year and are used to promote environmental initiatives, projects or educational events.”
“This year, my goal, and the goal of other members in SGA Leadership is to continue this emphasis on sustainability by getting that money into the hands of students and thus increasing the amount of sustainability initiatives on campus,” Chezem said.
Chezem said that last year, SGA was only able to fund 70-75% of grant requests. Now, SGA said they are able to fund the request in full.
“In the past, you’ve had to go into a deficit in your student activities account to be able to apply for a grant and we said, that’s not fiscally responsible,” Chezem said. “We want to make sure that students are getting this money so, however we can do that to the best of our abilities, that’s what we wanted to do.”
On Oct. 24, the LGBTQIA+ Alliance held their annual drag show which was funded through the SGA student organization funding process. Will Kissler, sophomore computer science and computer engineering double major and LGBTQIA+ Alliance vice president, said that SGA granted the requested total of $2,500 for the event.
Kissler said that the LGBTQIA+ Alliance used the grant money and a $1,000 donation from the Diversity Center to pay the drag queens, the master of ceremonies and snacks for the event. The grant process took about a month, which was longer than Kissler expected, due to breaks in Senate meetings.
“If they had been meeting, it would’ve been fine, it was just a fluke in their schedule,” Kissler said. “So I mean it was really just unlucky. Even considering the hardships, the Senate was very helpful and was like ‘we’re gonna make this happen.’”
Students can find more information on the Uber transportation service and application grant information by visiting the SGA website.