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UPUA Funds Winter Break Lyft Subsidies Before Considering Potential For Non-Student Use

The University Park Undergraduate Association met Wednesday in the HUB to support Penn State’s switch from Webmail to Office 365 and to fund Lyft subsidies to take students to the airport for winter break.

Bill 08-12: UPUA Funding for Lyft Subsidies for Winter Break ‘Airport Shuttle’ provides discounts for students using Lyft to get to the airport when they travel home for winter break.

UPUA will purchase 175 ride coupons for $10 each, which will be valid from December 11 to December 15. At the end of the promotion, the assembly will pay for only the number of codes that were actually used. The maximum expense on this bill is $1750, and the promotional code will only work for rides ending at the University Park airport.

In discussion, UPUA’s liaison from the Commonwealth Council of Student Governments asked if the discount could be used by students at Penn State’s Altoona campus, who he said often use the University Park airport as well. At first the answer was unclear, but advisor Barry Bram clarified it should only be used by University Park students because it’s funded by University Park student fee dollars.

One representative amended the resolution to include the phrasing “University Park students” to clarify that the code is only to be used by University Park students.

At the time the bill was passed, it was still unclear how the code would be limited to only student use. Someone brought up geofencing the starting trip location to just campus, but that was shot down because students should be able to be picked up wherever they live, including off-campus housing.

Even with geofencing of this type, anyone in the downtown/campus area could use the code for a discounted ride to the airport during finals week (read: not just students).

After the meeting, Facilities Chair Cody Heaton said he discussed the potential issue with other representatives and decided students would have to show their ID to receive the discount code. Nevermind that the code was announced in a public meeting and included on legislation that’s posted publicly on the UPUA website.

Please, UPUA. Consider all angles before you rush to propose and pass legislation. You owe it to the students you serve to ensure their fee dollars are spent responsibly.

In other news, the assembly also unanimously passed Resolution 16-12: Support of Transition from Webmail to Office 365. Implementation of Office 365 for email and calendar will be rolled out by August 1, 2018.

The resolution also calls for the Academic Affairs Committee to work with Penn State VP of Information Technology Michael Kubit to develop a student-friendly roll out plan, which IST Representative Chelsey Wood said will likely go in waves by academic college.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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