The Macdonald Campus Students’ Society (MCSS) got their say two weeks ago, as a newly-released online survey aimed to address some of Mac students’ most pressing concerns, including Mac Campus Senate representation and shuttle service.
John Pritz, the McGill Senate representative for Mac Campus, wrote the survey.
Another goal of the survey was to increase awareness of and access to McGill Senate and Board of Governors (BoG) meetings.
“McGill’s Board of Governors and Senate meetings run past the last shuttle’s departure,” said Pritz in an email to The Daily.
“On top of this, minutes from the Board of Governors meetings are not currently available online, and the Senate does not livestream the majority of its meetings,” continued Pritz.
“Considering the fact that decisions made by both Senate and the BoG directly affect student life on both campuses, others and myself are calling on the University to take significant steps to increase inter-campus accessibility, including the livestreaming of Senate meetings,” he added.
Pritz explained that many Mac students are unaware of their representation vis-à-vis the McGill Senate, and livestreaming would help to inform students not normally involved in downtown campus affairs about important issues facing the McGill community at large.
Through the dialogue created by the survey, Pritz hopes to see more Mac Campus involvement in McGill’s public discourse.
“Student life would greatly improve with increased social and academic links between downtown and Mac. Our two campuses have so much to offer each other,” he said.
The first goal of the survey was to address what many students see as a very contentious and pressing issue – improving the inter-campus shuttle service.
“The Macdonald-McGill shuttle bus was established in the early last decade, primarily as a means to service students with classes at both campuses,” said Joelle Mottart, an MCSS secretary.
“However, with many Mac students living downtown, demand for the shuttle service has rapidly increased,” Mottart continued.
High demand has resulted in long lineups and full buses frequently leaving before the scheduled departure time, while students are left to wait 45 minutes for the next bus. Pritz said that one of the biggest problems in terms of relations between the downtown campus and Mac Campus is the lack of accessibility between the two campuses.
“Physically, it can be quite difficult to get from one campus to the other, especially during peak hours of the day,” said Pritz.
Students are also frequently turned away from the shuttle despite having arrived well before its scheduled departure time.
“I often come twenty minutes before the scheduled time and the bus is already full,” said Hayley Shrier, a U1 Food Chemistry student. “Hopefully the survey will send a message to administration that the shuttle situation needs to be fixed.”
Another issue is the lack of later shuttles; the last departure for both directions is before 6:15PM, forcing many students with later classes or campus events to use public transit between downtown and Mac Campus, which can often take more than ninety minutes.
Furthermore, there are no weekend shuttles. Pritz explained that this discourages many students from attending night events and social activities both downtown and at Mac Campus.
However, the need for increased shuttle frequency is at odds with budgetary constraints; the cost of running one shuttle for one academic year is roughly $100,000, according to Mottart.
She added that, without a student ridership fee, the McGill administration is unlikely to expand shuttle service.