By Luke White
The 48th Legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) passed a bill yesterday to fund a pilot program for providing Emory students with transportation to and from a nearby Walmart twice a month.
SGA Sophomore Representative and College sophomore Crystal McBrown authored and presented the bill. Following an amendment proposed by College sophomore and SGA Campus Services Chairman Max Zoberman, the bill was passed via a 19-0-1 vote.
McBrown explained that the high prices at local stores such as CVS, Publix and Kroger mean that many students cannot afford to shop for groceries and other items at places in the immediate vicinity of the Emory campus.
As a result, McBrown asserted that it was necessary for Emory to provide students with another, less expensive alternative for shopping. McBrown cited the Memorial Drive Walmart’s consistently low prices and the existing demand among students for back and forth transportation as reasons for its selection.
McBrown said the bill would launch a service that would be widely used and highly beneficial, particularly for lower-income students.
Since the College Council had already approved the program and agreed to provide half the $1600 funding, McBrown explained that SGA needed to provide the other half.
The program will include two buses for four hours every two weeks.
SGA’s Governance Committee voted unanimously in support of the bill. Committee members believed that the bill would give support to students in need, and members also noted that a similar program was implemented at Oxford College to great effect.
The Finance Committee, on the other hand, voted 1-5-3 against the bill, with several members citing the timing of the bill as the reason for their disapproval. Although no one objected to the idea in principle, Finance Committee members said they believed that the program should begin in the spring. Furthermore, members were concerned about the amount of money the program might cost if it began to operate on a larger scale.
The Campus Services Committee (CSC) voted 6-0-1 in support of the bill, on the condition that SGA amend it to include several new provisions.
Zoberman presented the CSC amendment to the bill, which added stipulations that stated McBrown should collect ridership data from the program and that the program should exist in a pilot stage subject to later extension pending the results of the ridership data.
Zoberman’s amendment passed unanimously, and the bill passed immediately afterwards.
– By Luke White, Staff Writer