New student fee to fund bike rental program, other improvements

A small bump in tuition at LSU last fall has returned approvals for some fancy upgrades.

It comes from a $2 fee that was added to the student fee bill last fall. The Student Sustainability Fee, as it is called, is paid into a Student Government-managed fund. The $60,000 collected so far will fund four projects, including a bicycle rental program, a technology upgrade to the Museum of Natural Sciences, and a student-run farm.

Some 30,000 students battle Baton Rouge traffic to get to campus each day. When they get there, they face another challenge: parking. LSU Student Government Association (SGA) press secretary, Jayce Genco, said it is one of the biggest complaints he gets.

"LSU parking is known for being a good time, to say the least. We are trying to cut down on those vehicles coming to campus," Genco said.

The bicycle population on campus has grown in recent years, but not every student can afford one. Genco said that is about to change, thanks to a $2 contribution from each student per semester.

"I'm definitely most excited about the bike sharing program," said Jacques Petit.

SGA director of policy, Jacques Petit, said it would work similar to textbook rentals. The bikes would have serial numbers and be left at racks across campus. "So students can grab bikes near the quad, the business complex, Patrick F. Taylor Hall, grab a bike, ride where they need to go, and then leave it there at another docking station around campus," Petit said.

A portion of the funds dedicated to the Museum of Natural Sciences will go towards buying six iPads, which will take the place of brochures. Genco said students will also be able to use them to complete assignments. "They'll just type it up and email it to their professor, instead of having to write three or four pages of notes," Genco said.

The remaining money will be used to fund a student-run farm behind Laville Hall, and to send agriculture students to a conference, where they will learn the best ways to grow and maintain crops. Genco said the projects are just the beginning of many for the Tigers.

"These are going to be solutions for long-term problems here at LSU that benefit students, faculty, staff, and visitors who come to LSU," Genco said.

The projects must be implemented by the end of the calendar year. Students can begin submitting proposals for future programs now. Visit the LSU SGA webpage for more information.

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