The Student Projects Committee (SPC) referenda to fund KRLX renovations and a bike share program passed as a part of winter term CSA elections.
The bike share program will cost $54,000 for a three-year pilot run by Zagster, a third-party company that runs bike share programs on academic campuses across the country.
“Working with a third-party is the most successful option for bike share at Carleton,” said SPC Student-at-Large Eavan Donovan ’19, who proposed the bike share. “Having a third party adds more flexibility to the program.”
Students will be able to use a Zagster app or website to check out bikes from docking stations in front of Sayles and the Rec Center for four hours. After four hours, there is a $2 late fee per hour, with a maximum fee of $15, according to the bike share proposal.
The $54,000 will cover the rental of 10 Zagster cruiser bikes, two automatic docking stations, bike repairs, bike replacements, insurance and data on student use.
SAO will pay for the installation of the new bike racks. No bike racks will be removed from Sayles or the Rec Center to make room for the Zagster racks, and SAO will pay for the installation and rearrangement of bike racks to ensure that there is space for students’ bikes and shared bikes, according to Donovan.
Donovan said that the bike share program will likely start in fall term, pending the contract with Zagster and the installation of the new bike racks.
If the program is successful, Zagster would help the college expand the bike share program with additional bikes and docking stations.
SPC Senate Liaison Lillie Schneyer ’18 said, “I am very confident that if there is going to be a bike share program at Carleton, it’s going to be this bike share program. We’ve researched all the possibilities, and it’s been cleared through all of the relevant levels.”
Each bike costs $1,800 annually, so if the program were to continue after the three pilot years, it would cost $18,000 annually. It is currently unclear where funding for extension of the program would come from.
The bike share program passed with 719 yes votes and 649 no votes. “The reason why it was such a close vote is because of the budget,” Donovan said. “It’s a lot of money, and I don’t think students realize that the SPC money is there for us to spend only on projects like this.”
Last year, a student-run bike share program passed in the winter term CSA elections. After looking into implementation, SPC realized a student-run program was not feasible because the college’s liability insurance would not cover it and the long-term sustainability of the program was unclear.
Previously, several CSA representatives and presidential candidates mentioned bike share programs in their platforms and SAO worked with students to create a student-run bike share program.
“This history of bike share programs shows that it’s something students really wanted,” Donovan said. “It turned out that a student-run program really wasn’t feasible, so we looked into other options.”
KRLX proposed to use the $8,000 to purchase new equipment to update the station. This referendum passed with 1,056 yes votes and 649 no votes.
“KRLX’s equipment is coming on twenty years old. Much of it has started to fail due to standard wear and tear associated with being a 24/7 station,” said former station manager Alex Tippett ’17. “Working without working audio equipment in the KRLX studio and continuing on as a radio station might have been a little challenging.” The SPC-funded renovations are planned for the beginning of spring term.
Over the summer, the administration is planning larger renovations to Sayles, which may include an expansion to the KRLX studio. The administration will pay for the physical remodeling of the space, and once the renovations are complete, KRLX plans to return to SPC next year for funding to outfit the new space with equipment.
Schneyer clarified however that the proposal that passed in the election includes only improvements that are not affected by the Sayles renovations.
Similarly, Donovan said, “Originally, KRLX asked for a lot more money, but it was unclear how much would come from the administration, pending future Sayles renovations. We funded only what could be compatible with the renovations that may happen over the summer.”
In general, SPC uses money from past CSA budget surpluses to fund student projects. According to CSA bylaws, the SPC forms when there is over $65,000 of surplus money.
After funding the bike share program and KRLX renovations, there will be $92,000 left from past budget surpluses, according to CSA Treasurer Jeremy Keane ’17.
Anyone can submit projects to SPC on the CSA website, and SPC looks into all proposals. Projects over $4,000 go to the student body for a vote.
“These projects are important to students because this is your money being allocated to implement projects that will directly impact students and student life,” Keane said. “These projects go on the ballot because you’re paying for these projects as an enrolled Carleton student, so you should have a say in whether or not you’d like to see a project implemented.”
Since the creation of SPC three years ago, it has funded many projects, including the current renovations to the Little Norse theater, standing desks in the library, whiteboards in the Goodhue study rooms and new lighting for the Cave.