The Georgetown University Student Association is considering plans to improve the student-runSafeRides program and to alter the Collegiate Readership Program.
According to GUSA Secretary of Student Safety and Health Sophie Guntram (COL ’13), the student association hopes to begin paying student drivers of SafeRides vans and wants to increase the number of vans driven by GUSA members to two per week.
GUSA members currently operate one volunteer shift per week in addition to the rotating trivia game cab “Snack Cab,” which seeks to make the SafeRides program more attractive to students.
Guntram said that the expansion of the program will allow Department of Public Safety officers originally responsible for driving vans to focus their attention on incidents and emergencies on campus.
According to Deputy Secretary of Student Safety Guillaume Cossard (COL ’14), GUSA’s ultimate goal is to employ students with federal work-study awards as SafeRides drivers.
“It creates a fun job … and it may increase ridership,” he said.
Guntram added that employing students as drivers will increase connections between the members of the student body and the Georgetown neighborhood.
“It connects students to students and really causes people to open up, trust one another, because that’s a big commitment to drive through the area and pick up people who otherwise could be in dangerous situations,” Guntram said. “People will also get more familiar with the area we live in.”
GUSA leadership also plans to review its contract with the Collegiate Readership Program to adjust newspaper subscription numbers in order to satiate increasing student demand.
After a funding shortage forced a hiatus in September 2010, the administration of former GUSAPresident Mike Meaney (SFS ’12) and former Vice President Greg Laverriere (COL ’12) renewed the Collegiate Readership Program last spring, providing free daily copies of The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today in Lauinger Library, Red Square and Sellinger Lounge.
According to GUSA Director of Special Initiatives Yupang Chang (MSB ’15), although no official survey of the general student body was conducted, GUSA noted that The New York Times is the most widely read of the three newspapers.
“We just took a quick survey among friends and the executive [branch],” Chang said. “We really want more [copies of The] New York Times. There is no hard evidence behind that. It’s just a generalconsensus.”
But former GUSA Director of Special Projects Tyler Sax (COL ’13) noted that the increased subscription to The New York Times could possibly decrease the overall quantity of subscriptions to other newspapers.
“It’s also important to note that The New York Times is significantly more expensive than the other two papers,” Sax wrote in an email. “So increasing our consumption of [the Times] will mean we eat through our budget faster and cannot have as many total papers.”
He added that more work needs to be done to determine student demand for each paper in order to have an appropriate number of subscriptions.
“In general, I would say that we should aim to provide a balance of the three subscriptions. But if there is significantly more demand for one paper, we can justify increasing our subscription to that paper. It may be helpful to perform some sort of survey to determine this,” Sax wrote.