Senate: Green your commute
The Student Government Association Senate said Wednesday students should consider using alternative forms of transportation rather than complain about lack of parking.
‘Our natural instinct is to point fingers and lay blame, but that’s not going to get the problem solved,’ SGA President Samuel Dike said. ‘What’s going to solve that problem is if we do two things: increase the availability of parking and find alternative ways to get to campus.’
In its first meeting of the semester, the SGA Senate confirmed new senators who were presented with a variety of new and old issues.
‘Tonight, I’ll be presenting you all with new senators to join this great organization and continue the progress that we’ve been working on this year with a wide variety of issues that need to be addressed. In the midst of all this newness are old trailing issues that we still need to resolve,’ Dike said.
The new senators, John Price (Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management), Andrae Evans (College of National Science and Mathematics), Stephen Quezada (UH Law Center), Hillary Sotello (College of Liberal Arts and Social Science) and Sen. At Large Kyrie Ruiz, were met with an agenda that was highlighted by problems with parking and transportation.
Other senators voiced concerns that construction and increased enrollment were magnifying these problems.
Bauer College of Business Sen. Brian Lopera said that continued construction on the Calhoun Lofts, a new student housing residence, and problems with the ticket machines in the Welcome Center parking garage made finding parking more difficult for business students.
Carl Carlucci, vice chancellor for administration and finance for the UH System, proposed the Senate encourage students to register for Metro’s Q card, which gives college students a 50 percent discount off the full fare for local and park-and-ride routes and MetroRail.
Carlucci said he is working with Metro to remap routes so that bus stops include UH. With increasing costs of gasoline and campus parking fees, riding Metro will not only help students save money, but it will also help the University and its students go green, Carlucci said.
SGA Vice President Jonas Chin agreed with Dike’s problem-solving method and said Carlucci’s proposal was a sensible.
‘I was thinking why would you ever call something a ‘Q card,’ and I figured it out – there’s no ‘Q’uestion about it,’ Chin said. ‘You ought to get one. You save money. This is a good idea and a good deal.’
Dike said asking for more parking spaces is not the solution to the problem.
‘I want you to put this in perspective,’ Dike said. ‘We’ve asked for more parking spaces. More parking spaces require money. Where are we going to get the money? Well, the money comes from parking permits. So to solve a problem, we create a problem.’
Dike said that instead of asking for more parking, students should carpool, use Metro and, if they can, ride their bikes to school.
The new senators also addressed the SGA with their agendas for their time in office, and they will use their first weeks to learn how things work within the SGA.
‘Right now, the first thing I want to do is work with the senators there and see what problems they need to be addressed,’ Evans said. ‘I want to work on student communities. We have strong organizations, but a lot of students don’t know about the organizations. We want to be able to market those better.’
Additional reporting by James Hale.