By Mike Jest
Though students often choose Kenyon for Gambier’s quiet charms, many enjoy the opportunity to leave campus and venture into Mount Vernon. Students without cars utilize the Mount Vernon Shuttle, which for years has departed for Mount Vernon from the Kenyon College Bookstore every hour from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, Sept. 4, however, the Student Council voted to suspend operation of the shuttle on Mondays on a trial basis. This decision means that, beginning in October, the shuttle will run only three days a week.
The change was financially motivated, as increased demands on the Business and Finance Committee (BFC) have left the committee searching for ways to save money, according to Student Council President Ryan Motevalli-Oliner ’12. In recent years, the BFC has begun to pay for student services, such as the College’s subscription to The New York Times and the shuttle system. These amenities now come out of the student activities fee.
In an effort to make more money available for student organizations and activities, the BFC, led by Rob Mueller ’12 and Tyler Furste ’12, identified the shuttle service as a possible budget cut. They found that with students flocking to Mount Vernon for dinner or a movie, the shuttle was utilized much more frequently on Fridays and Saturdays.
Next, they looked at Monday and Wednesday, and found that nearly twice as many students used the shuttle on Wednesdays as compared with Mondays. As a result, they decided that Monday was the day that could go. The BFC found that they could save roughly $3,000 per year with this cut, money which could become made available to the student organizations.
So far, much of the buzz from the student population has been negative. “I really don’t like the change, because it makes it a lot harder to get off campus,” Nick Rogers ’15 said.
Motevalli-Oliner said he defends the decision because it puts money back into the students’ hands. He admits that the change may make it harder for students to reach Mount Vernon, but in the end, he believes that “the student activities fee should go to student activities,” he said.
Additionally, Motevalli-Oliner said that for now, the change is only temporary, and that Student Council will reach out to the student body before making any permanent changes. He said that Student Council wants as much student input as possible, positive or negative, in order to make an informed decision.
Over the course of October, the information and student input that the Council gathers will determine whether this change is here to stay.
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