Saturday, July 13, 2024

Coordinator presents free public transit for students

Senator Ayush Neupane reviews a pamphlet detailing Clinton County Public Transit’s routes. The Student Association is working on a contract that would give allow students to ride the county’s buses for free.


By Aleksandra Sidorova

The Student Association Senate discussed a contract in the works that would allow students to use Clinton County Public Transit for free. The Senate also had to make a decision on a $1,050 request without a club representative present.

The three-year contract would replace the SA shuttle with a bus that seats 16 people as well as space for standing passengers and runs “pretty much 24/7,” SA Coordinator for Student Affairs and Diversity Ariel Wells explained. The bus has handicap access, making it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The contract also adjusts the shuttle route to include a stop at the Clinton County Government Center downtown. At this stop, students can access other public transportation routes within Plattsburgh as well as toward Champlain and Rouses Point, Keeseville and AuSable, Ellenburg, Lyon Mountain, Clayburg and Mooers for free if they show their ID.

Currently, students pay $1 for a regular single-ride fare and $2 for a day pass.

In SA Vice President Kalema Gooding’s report, she said she went on a bus tour and it reminded her of “being in New York [City].” 

Additionally, SUNY Plattsburgh’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America requested from $1,000 to $1,250 for 10 students to go on a conference trip to Boston. However, no club representative attended the meeting to present the case and answer questions. It is not required for a club representative to be present at a Senate meeting, but nonetheless highly uncommon for them to choose not to attend.

Senators considered moving the approval of funds to next week’s meeting, but chose to make a decision that night in order for the club to receive them in time for their trip. 

Senator Khushi Patil said $1,050 was “a lot” of money and suggested reducing the sum, prompting a discussion of how much the students should pay out of pocket.

“With the information that was provided, we cannot approve the amount that they’re asking for,” Patil said. “Even if it becomes expensive, people have paid more in the past.”

Senator Dhir Jain proposed to cut PRSSA’s lodging budget, which was originally $700, decreasing the total amount approved to $800. The Senate unanimously approved the new amount.

Senator Arshita Pandey in her report also referenced changes in how the Student Health and Counseling Center will provide services to students next semester. 

Marco Ayala, the Student Health and Counseling Center’s finance and operations administrator, explained in an email that the center is limiting students’ use of counseling services to four or five times per semester — a model that had been in place before COVID-19. 

Students will also not be able to book counseling appointments after they reach two no-shows per semester, and are limited to crisis counseling.

The decision is based on increased demand for counseling services, allowing more students to use the center’s counseling services.

“As a senator, I personally disagree with some of the things that they are talking about,” Pandey said. “If it works out, I might have a conversation with the senator for campus safety and health as well as the health department and we’ll see where it goes.”

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