Senate announces proposed cuts on Five-College PVTA bus services

BY  MERYL PHAIR ’20

This week’s SGA Senate included discussion of PVTA schedule changes, increasing campus sustainability and use of locally sourced food. Camille Gladieux ’18, executive board president, spoke first. She announced a future increase in fresh smoothies at the Dining Commons once there is more staff available, as well as a grab-and-go station coming soon to the Dining Commons. She then explained proposed changes to the PVTA schedule. 

The PVTA changes which would impact Mount Holyoke College students concern the 38 and 39 routes. Proposed changes to the 38 route, which services Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, Amherst College and University of Massachusetts, Amherst, include reduced weekday frequency after 8 p.m. and the Saturday schedule would be reduced to that of the current Sunday schedule, which would have frequency changes from 40 minutes to 80 minutes and no service after 12:45 a.m.. Sunday services would be eliminated during “reduced service” periods. 

Changes to the 39 route, which services Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College and Smith College, would include a total elimination of service to South Hadley. Weekday evening trips after 6 p.m. would alternate between servicing Hampshire Mall and Smith College, and the Saturday schedule would be changed to the current Sunday schedule. Sunday service would also be eliminated during “reduced service” periods. 

A PVTA representative will be at Senate on Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Hooker Auditorium for any students or members of the South Hadley community who would like to voice concerns. In addition, comments on the proposed changes can be sent to comments@pvta.com and an online survey is available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/3PQFXNM. 

Next were presentations from student organizations Think Outside the Bottle, Zero Waste and the Food Justice Society. 

Think Outside the Bottle aims to make Mount Holyoke College free of bottled water. They have organized events within the campus community in the past, including tap water challenges, providing fruit-infused water at events and graduation and movie screenings. For the 2017-2018 academic year, they partnered with Zero Waste, a student organization that has held events on campus like “swap don’t shop,” DIY beauty events and “clean plate club.” 

“We are focusing in on making Mount Holyoke more sustainable and raising awareness about the importance of our cause,” said Cailin Van Nevel ’18, chair of Think Outside the Bottle. 

Both organizations are dealing with concerns about the sustainability of the Dining Commons, particularly regarding composting and the proposed system of reusable to-go containers. They also hope to increase sustainability within residence halls. On March 22 the group will host a screening of “The Age of Consequences,” a film about conflict and climate change. The event will include a panel of professors available for discussion with students. 

Both Think Outside the Bottle and Clean Plate Club encourage students to reduce, reuse, recycle, avoid wasting food in the Dining Commons, use reusable water bottles and shop sustainably. 

“Everyone loves getting juice boxes at M&C’s and you can recycle juice boxes so let’s take advantage of that,” said Naomi Brown ’21, senator of Think Outside the Bottle. 

Shannah Paton ’18 presented on the Food Justice Society, an organization striving to bring more sustainable and local equitable food to campus. The group also supports an increase in education regarding how students can grow their own food and involvement in the local community and food justice efforts. Working closely with Dining Services, their goal is to get Mount Holyoke College to commit to purchasing 20 percent “real food” by 2020.

“We define ‘real food’ as food which is sustainable, ecologically sound, local and humane,” said Paton. 

The Food Justice Society is part of the Real Food challenge, a campaign to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food towards “real food.”

The Food Justice Society has plans to construct a garden alongside Talbott Green House which will be completed in April. The garden will be used as a community space for students and locals and to produce food to be used in Dining Services. 

 

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