This weekend, our Student Government began a new transportation initiative (you likely saw posters for it plastered everywhere on campus) called the Loop Bus. The Loop Bus is a weekend-night way for students to get around town to areas they might not go otherwise — or might not trust a PAT bus to take them to. For all the details on the bus, you could either check out this space from the March 2 issue when Jared and Pooja announced the plan, or http://stugov.andrew.cmu.edu/executive/projects/loop_bus.html. But I am not writing here to just rehash what was written then.
Jared and Pooja ran on a platform of finding issues that unify the student population at Carnegie Mellon, and they have done an excellent job of actually doing this. From their task forces to their efforts to improve Tartan Pride, the Loop Bus is just the latest program that helps bring the campus together. Both graduate and undergraduate students should take advantage of it, and the more who do, the more value will we see from it.
Sure, the Loop Bus provides a safer method of getting around Pittsburgh for students. But more than just improving safety and ease, the Loop Bus can improve the Carnegie Mellon experience. The Loop Bus can become cool. It can become the way for students to go out on weekends and to meet up with other Carnegie kids; the way for graduate students to meet the other half of the Carnegie Mellon population and for undergraduates to realize that graduate students (occasionally) come out of their labs.
And for this to happen, we need everyone to find out that the Loop Bus exists, and show us that they would actually use it. In the elections next week, we will be asking the student body, by non-binding referendum, if they would like to see this initiative, or others like it, supported by Student Government. And more than that, if they would be willing to pay a little bit more ($4 per semester) in fees to have the Loop Bus, and whatever else we can come up with, exist all the time.
So to be an informed student, I believe that each and every one of you should go ride the Loop Bus this weekend. And at the same time as we encourage you to go make the Loop Bus a real success, we will be asking you to let us know if it is something you want. If it is, we will do our best to make sure it continues, and if not, Student Government will continue to innovate on your behalf, working to unify the campus, and working to make Carnegie Mellon as good as it can be for you.