Student Government passes campus car-sharing program


By Jackson Booth, Reporter


Student Government passed a measure that will offer an alternative approach to campus transportation. On Sept. 20, student senators voted to introduce a system known as ZipCar to UNO.

 ZipCar is a car-sharing program where students can check out a vehicle from the university to use around campus and the Omaha area. When a student wants to use the car, they create an account on the website and reserve a time and location.

“During the summer, UNO was contacted by ZimRide and ZipCar and [was] presented [with] several informational sessions and demonstrations,” said Devin Bertelsen, student body president. “This project was pursued by Senator Anna Berg after her interest was ignited while sitting on the UNO Green Task Force.” 

Before the senators voted in favor of ZipCar, they rejected a different project known as ZimRide, which is a carpooling service managed by a ZimRide representative.  If they had passed ZimRide, it would have cost Student Government $5,000, which would average out to be a total cost of 33 cents per UNO student. One senator even made an amendment to reduce the cost to $2,500, but the measure was still rejected.

The Senators were not opposed to the idea completely; however, they wanted to have more research and data given to show that this would be an effective program.

Although the ZimRide initiative did not pass, Bertelsen said there will be an opportunity for the author of the legislation to give more information so senators are able to make a more informed decision in the future.

“We are all learning that it takes time, research and student feedback when making decisions, which is one thing I think is key to having a successful Student Government,” Bertelsen said.

UNO Student Senators have been attempting to implement projects that will improve campus transportation, as the university grows. This is why they hope ZipCar will be a start to making that happen.

Currently, numerous universities have ZipCar programs on their campuses, including Harvard University and Stanford University. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Creighton University have also introduced the program to their campuses.

While UNO has a large student commuter population, ZipCar is intended to help those students at the university who do not have access to transportation.

“Student Government is in support of providing students with another way of transportation and feel that the ZipCar program will be a great benefit for international students and those that live on-campus without transportation,” Bertelsen said.

The total cost of the program and date of implementation is still in the works, and should be known in the coming weeks.

In addition to passing ZipCar, Student Government appointed Joseph Nabity as the Chief Administrative Officer. Nabity will serve with other members of the Executive Board throughout the year.

Vice President Shawn Addison selected 17 new members to the Freshman Leadership Council and they will participate in their first meeting next Thursday, Sept.  27.

Stephanie Montgomery, public relations officer, also noted an Alumni Center tailgate that will be held at the Ralston Arena with more details are to come.

Student Government also voted and passed to give Tim Fitzgerald a Letter of Commendation. Fitzgerald served as the official photographer for UNO for 42 years.