It’s been a busy summer at AU. We’ve learned a lot and have been welcomed warmly by administrators as we’ve started moving on our initiatives. Here are some updates on what’s going on.
For as long as I can remember, students have been frustrated with the shuttle service. We’re tired of going to the shuttle with no idea how long the wait will be. All we want to know is how long we have until the next shuttle-so we can duck into a building for warmth or grab a coffee from the Dav.
I’m happy to say things will be different by August. Keep your eyes out for new routes and better technology. I’m heavily involved in a process of reviewing and growing shuttle operations, where I’m bringing your views and concerns to the table. It seems we may never get a fixed schedule with the frequency our shuttles run. Heavy traffic is a reality of our urban setting, and even though it’s predictable, it is too difficult to manage.
What we can do is secure the technology to know when the next shuttle will arrive from anywhere on or off campus. How would you like to learn where the shuttle is via text message? It’s not far off.
The shuttles will also be running off biodiesel, continuing our efforts of becoming a carbon-neutral campus.
On the other end of the shuttle route is the Metro. We’ve heard a demand for a student Metro discount, which is in the works. I cannot say it will happen this semester, but it is a good long-term possibility. WMATA wants to work with us, and it would be a flat rate for unlimited usage during the semester.
Unfortunately, their last proposal did not offer a discount for students. It’s very costly, so I’m working closely with administrators to get a real timeline on when something as practical and useful as this could be funded.
Before that happens, though, we can continue to build on our partnership with WMATA. We can bring the SmarTrip technology to our AUID cards, and we can do it by the time you’re back from summer vacation. Long-term, this will open the door to putting the student discount right on your AU ID.
Outside of the world of transportation, we’re working hard to build a strong connection with the Tenleytown and Spring Valley community. I’m tired, as many of you are, of hearing that college students are reckless and inconsiderate neighbors. It’s just not true. Sure, some of us like to have a good time, but we’re not out to harm or disturb anyone.
I’m continuing the effort to get a student on our Advisory Neighborhood Commission, which is a DC governing body that oversees our campus. Sami Green (2012/SPA) is seeking the seat, which would represent our 1800 students living on the South Side of campus and a handful of community members. I’ve been meeting with other ANC commissioners and neighbors to rally support for getting her on the Commission. While this likely won’t happen until the fall, it can’t be achieved without hard work now.
Having someone like Sami on the ANC to represent our needs will be crucial as the university enters its ten-year Campus Planning process. If you are interested in helping Sami get on the ANC, contact me.
Looking forward to the school year, there’s a lot to be excited about. I can’t wait to tell you about more of what’s going on as it all happens.