A modest proposal

Alan Duff

New Year’s Day is a crazy time for anyone in the United States. It’s a time for family, friends and parties. For us Lawrentians it can be all of that, but with all the added craziness of moving back to Lawrence to start the Winter Term and year.

Lawrence’s policy of having the residence halls open only one day before school starts can be a bit chaotic. The good news is that all students get to come back on the same day and see our friends.

However, this crowding has never been more apparent to me than when I was coming back this New Year’s Day. The Appleton airport seemed to be filled with nothing but Lawrence students ready to return to school. The taxis were waiting outside and one by one, students piled into their respective local friend’s car or a taxi to get back to Lawrence.

The question everyone seemed to be asking while we were all in the airport was, “Why doesn’t Lawrence University have a shuttle program for the few days a year like this?” It would be relatively cheap, it would help out-of-state or foreign students, and it would give a shuttle driver a job for a day.

Costs wouldn’t be a problem either. Lawrence already offers shuttle services almost every day of the week to the mall and back, so why not have the same program help students save time and money during the normal school year? Tailoring the program to run for two or three more days out of the year wouldn’t be that big of a deal, especially if it was in constant use throughout the day.

If the issue of price is raised, I am sure many wouldn’t mind paying a few more dollars. An extra dollar or two could be added to the bill of every out-of-state student for Winter and Spring Term to pay for these shuttles. This addition would simply be called the out-of-state tuition fee, and it would easily pay for the shuttles for these return days. Comparing that to a 25 dollar taxi ride, the shuttle service seems like a wonderful deal that would look great for Lawrence to do and save their students money.

It makes no sense to not have a program like this in place when about two thirds of the student body comes from out of state or country. It would be an easy enough program to put into place that would save a whole lot of time and money for students.

While it could be argued that such a program would be a waste of time, it would only be applied a few days out of the year. Because Lawrence University is an all residential campus, and there is one specific day set aside for everyone to come back, this kind of shuttle program would make sense.

At other universities that don’t have required on-campus housing, a shuttle system might not be the most effective policy — but at Lawrence, a shuttle program that takes students from the airport to campus when the residence halls open would be a very efficient and effective program.