Senate begins bike share program, continues to discuss purchasing pianos
The Student Union celebrated the implementation of a campus bike share program on Sunday, the result of a joint initiative by the Senate Services and Outreach Committee and the Senate Sustainability Committee.
Senate Services and Outreach Committee chair Aaron Finkel ’20 said that selling tickets to the Turkey Shuttle service “went great this year.” Four Turkey Shuttles have completely sold out, with another two nearly sold out, he said.
Finkel expressed interest in implementing similar shuttle options for winter break this year, but noted that limited funding and the variability of final exam schedules would make a winter shuttle service difficult. Class of 2019 Senator Kent Dinlenc ’19 proposed winter shuttles for students returning to campus after winter break. “That’s a good idea,” Finkel said. “We can look into that.”
Finkel also announced that on Friday, the University officially began its partnership with LimeBike, a California-based bike sharing company. Bikes have been placed near Gosman, the Rabb Graduate Studies Center and the Charles River Apartments and will be available for students to rent for 50 cents per hour. Finkel said students can download a mobile app to use the bikes, and that the bikes do not need to be returned to a kiosk after use.
Dinlenc, the chair of the Senate Sustainability Committee, said he wants University President Ron Liebowitz to publicly demonstrate the University’s support for a recent Massachusetts carbon tax bill that was signed into law earlier this summer. Dinlenc noted that other Massachusetts universities have already endorsed the carbon tax, and a public statement of support would reinforce the University’s commitment to the environment.
Senate Health and Safety Committee Chair Joshua Hoffman ’21 updated Senators on his initiative to distribute free condoms throughout first-year and sophomore residence hall bathrooms. With a pricing scheme complete, Hoffman said the condom initiative would require about $200 for the purchase of 2,000 condoms. This initial distribution would help assess the feasibility of the initiative and the community’s response. Hoffman said he is in communication with the Community Advisors of the first-year and sophomore areas to help distribute the condoms. He is also discussing a subsidy partnership with the Student Sexuality Information Service to reduce the cost of the condoms.
Senators Linfei Yang ’20 and Alex Chang ’22 updated the Senate on the state of their piano initiative for first-year quads. Chang said a woman in the area was willing to donate a baby grand piano and would pay up to $400 to cover the cost of transporting the pianos. On Monday, Chang met with first-year quad area coordinators Maira Pantoja and Peter Budmen to discuss the Department of Community Living’s support for the piano initiative. Pantoja is the area coordinator for North Quad; Budmen is the area coordinator for the Massell and Rosenthal quads.
The area coordinators said DCL no longer supported the piano initiative because the first-year lounges are inaccessible for students with disabilities. They also said the Student Union needed to “quantify” demand for the pianos. Yang expressed frustration with the DCL’s requirements: “How quantifiable do they want it to be?”
In previous meetings with the senators, DCL representatives said the department would be supportive of the measure. The Union now has less than a month to acquire the piano before the donor moves out of her house.
The Senate postponed a proposed amendment to the Student Union Bylaws by the bylaws committee that would formally define the rules of an executive session. The decision was reached after Senators agreed there was no unanimous understanding of the effects of the proposed amendment.
— Editor's Note: This article was updated to fix incorrect information. It originally stated that the amendment proposed by the Bylaws Committee defining executive session would amend the Constitution. It was corrected to say this would amend the Student Union Bylaws.