NEWS

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March 1, 2011

SG van project inches forward

Student Government (SG) is in the final stages of purchasing passenger vans for RSOs and athletic clubs to use, according to SG leaders. The initiative is one of the more challenging goals of the Next Generation slate, and as smaller-scale projects get checked off the list and the most ambitious are rendered unfeasible, SG is hoping to make the vans a reality.

The van acquisition, scheduled for completion at the end of October, has been delayed by a series of setbacks, said SG president and fourth-year Greg Nance. Last quarter, SG had allocated funds and planned to meet with the Procurement Office. But a miscommunication delayed the process by weeks.

“Our contact in the Procurement Office left the University during fall quarter and did not inform us of his departure,” Nance wrote in an e-mail. “Only six weeks later did we learn he had left.”

Still, SG has moved forward, receiving clearance from the University’s Risk Management Department, ensuring that the vans fall under the University’s insurance umbrella, and working out the program’s financial architecture, according to Nance.

Second-year and vice president for student affairs Patrick Ip said the only step left was the actual purchasing of the vans, mentioning that Nance had even taken the vehicles for a test drive.

Though not among their original 10 goals for their first 30 days in office, securing funds for free copies of The New York Times and USA Today is now a priority for SG after the success of the pilot program in the fall. They are lobbying academic deans, Campus and Student Life, and Student Government Finance Committee for funds to support the newspaper program.

SG has continued with various publicity campaigns to help increase student awareness about SG resources: They are tabling four days a week, holding office hours, and posting weekly bulletins in Reynolds Club and the dorms. Nance said four-square games on the Max Palevsky quadrangle will continue “when the snow melts.”

The publicity efforts aim to reach out to students for input as well as to inform students about recent SG-sponsored services, like increased airport shuttles, bike and laptop registration, and websites like UBazaar, UAchieve, and UChicagoApartments.com.

Still, websites like UAchieve and UChicagoApartments have yet to become popular sources of content, and student interest in opportunities to voice their opinions about student life remains low—last week’s forum saw a turnout of about 20 students for a discussion of health care on campus and a question-and-answer session with MAC Property Management.

Nance wrote that SG “will continue exploring ways to get more students involved.”

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