SGA OKs rail extension

The Student Government Association met Wednesday and passed infrastructure initiatives regarding the University Center Student Fee Referendum, campus sustainability and a Metro Rail expansion to Elgin Avenue.

The referendum will give students the opportunity to vote on a choice of future renovation plans of the UC and associated facilities. Chairman of UC 20015 Committee Micah Kenfield said because the UC does not receive state funding, renovations will cause a fee increase of $35 per student for each regular semester and a $17.50 increase for summer terms.

"The expected increase will be a gradual phase as transformation begins and will not take effect until two years," Kenfield said. "We are requesting that SGA send a survey to students asking if they want to pay and how much they are willing to pay."

Now that the bill has been passed, polling of student support for an increase in the University Center Fee will take place over two days during the week of Nov.17.

"The UC is 40 years old, it has served its wealth," SGA President Sam Dike said, "(With the renovations) we will have a building that better reflects the student body."

SGA senators amended the campus sustainability bill to a resolution in support of a University Environmental and Sustainability Task Force. The task force will address environmental concerns such as recycling, energy conservation and waste management.

SGA also passed a resolution supporting the extension of the proposed Metro light rail, bypassing its suggested Scott Street end to continue until the Eastwood Transit Center and including the UH campus. The resolution, the most debated legislation of the night, eventually passed by a roll call vote after many senators voiced concerns regarding their position to ask Metro for an extension, the effect it may have on non-UH tax payers as well as the expected disruption of traffic that will occur during such an expansion.

After these concerns were raised, Dike encouraged support of the bill to accommodate recent construction and future housing plans.

"As we build more on campus (the light rail extension) will make it easier for residents to get to hot spots in Houston, and reduce the number of cars," Dike said, "With this we can be creative with our parking solutions and save money."

Executive Director of Business Services Emily Messa said the decision to create a sustainability task force came after a Rockefeller Institution report card attempted to grade UH with "D" in relation to non-consolidated sustainability efforts.

Director of Business Services Esmeralda Valdez informed the senate of updates and progress made toward bills passed by the 44th Administration.

Valdez said there have not been advancements in finding alternative coffee vendors for the M.D. Anderson Library kiosk, as there are a large number of coffee vendors already on campus.

The SGA Senate’s next meeting will be held Oct. 8 in the University Center, Bluebonnet Room.

Leave a Comment