The Undergraduate Student Government announced over break that the Friday night bus route it had pursued adding since the beginning of semester would add an additional $4 to the transportation fee, which is charged to undergraduate students every semester.
USG posted on Facebook that it considered this price too high and would not pursue implementing the Friday route. That post was immediately met with protest from students who were willing to pay extra, a few students in support of USG’s decision and damage control from Vice President of Communications and Public Relations Mario Ferone and President Adil Hussain.
The response would indicate a mandate from the student body for USG to work toward expanding transportation options, but strangely, there seemed to be very little interest in transportation before USG proposed the new route.
Transportation has been a pet project of USG’s from the beginning, and while its focus on student advocacy has been refreshing, it could have approached the topic much more efficiently without raising and dashing the hopes of the student body in the course of a semester.
During the fall, USG sent out two polls to both undergraduate and graduate students highlighting new bus routes. Though neither met standards the would validate the results—requiring the Department of Transportation to release its own survey—these polls prematurely built up a sense of excitement that transportation in and around campus would improve. USG propagated information that suggested that this project would definitely become a reality, and that these polls were just a formality to prove student support.
When it came to defining what it actually wanted to accomplish in improving transportation, the senate struggled, over the course of several meetings, to draft and approve a resolution that coherently stated its goals.
Though the addition of the 7Bus to New York City is a welcome alternative to the LIRR, it came to Stony Brook more as a result of the Department of Transportation’s recognition of an opportunity than an effort on the part of USG. 7Bus now has access to a great new source of revenue with USG happily advertising the service. In fact, Executive Vice President of USG Mallory Rothstein is now a marketing intern for 7Bus which causes one to question the impartiality of USG’s claim that the 7Bus is the best option for students.
We support USG in advocating issues that are important to students, but in doing so, it needs to effectively involve students and direct its attention to properly researched, feasible solutions. USG should lead with clear goals and execution, not stumble in its own ambition.
The Editorial Board