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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Welcome Improvements

Published: January 20, 2006
Section: Opinions

Since students have returned to campus several aspects of life at Brandeis have improved, including new shuttles and new dining hall hours. Although the changes are most definitely beneficial, they have not been quite as thorough as they could have been.

Brandeis has commenced a daytime shuttle service through Waltham. The Department of Public Safety along with the Student Union and Heller School have organized an important service for the Brandeis students and the staff. The change has enabled off-campus students to travel with greater ease and allows on campus students to reach Waltham in the daytime and afternoon hours. Moreover, employees and staff members now have a cheap transportation option. No phone calls are needed to be made as with the BranVan, and the shuttles run relatively frequently, approximately every forty minutes. The organizers of the shuttle have wisely recognized that 10% of the undergraduate student body lives off campus, and 84% of the classes offered at Brandeis are before 4 in the afternoon. The lack of housing on campus is another reason that the new shuttle is an improvement.
On the other hand, the shuttles do not run on the weekends. The problem will still exist for students on these days, and, without transporation, off-campus students are not encouraged to come to campus. Students on campus also cannot leave until the late afternoon if they decide to take the Boston shuttle or the BranVan.

On another front, Aramark has made a few changes to their dining facilities. For one, the Boulevard is now open until 10 p.m. (previously it had been 8 p.m.) on Fridays. The lack of dining in the later hours on Fridays had been a relatively major complaint, and even the addition of these two hours is a huge improvement. Again, the administration has made improvements, but the dining halls on Saturday close at or before 7 p.m. Also, through the work of the Student Union Advocacy Committee, the dollar equivalency of points when used at the Stein has risen from three to five dollars. This will definitely motivate more students to take advantage of this dining option. But one question about this change is why the amount chosen was five dollars rather than the meal plan dinner equivalency of one of the dining halls (i.e. Usdans $7.65).

These are welcome changes to the Brandeis community that should enhance aspects of campus life, but there is still work to be done.