SGA will not fund Blirpit

Students who wait for the UVM bus at Pearl Street Beverage on Saturday nights may want to start memorizing the Burlington bus schedule. The Student Government Association voted 19-18 not to fund Blirpit, the electronic system that sends the bus schedule via text message to students’ cell phones, for the next academic year on April 12. One of the reasons that the bill did not pass was because senators had a problem funding a company when the SGA exists to support university clubs. “I think that a lot of senators, myself included, are hesitant to allocate money to a business that makes a profit,” former Speaker of the Senate Claire Chevrier said. “Our money should be going toward clubs.” While Chevrier said she uses Blirpit all the time, she does not think SGA should be the group to fund it. “[Inter Residence Association] also has a lot of money and does not have to fund 150 clubs, and I believe they should fully fund Blirpit,” she said IRA was unable to be reached for comment. Some senators said that since on-campus students use Blirpit the most, it should not be the SGA’s responsibility to fully fund it, SGA Senator William Bennington said. “We only give SGA-recognized clubs 42 percent, on average, of what they request in their club budgets,” Bennington said. Bennington said that it seems unfair for the SGA to fund a private entity when they cannot afford to do that for the clubs they are supposed to serve. However, SGA Senator Nehemie Moise said she thinks SGA should fund things that benefit students and that they should at least financially support a portion of the Blirpit expense. “I understand that SGA wanted to look at other forms of funding, but I think that some kind of contribution would have been helpful because it shows that SGA is supporting things that come in use for students,” she said. Many students agree with Moise and said they would be very upset if they could no longer use Blirpit. “I use Blirpit all the time and I’d be really upset if they got rid of it,” sophomore Jess Shapiro said. “It’s a really good way to get downtown and get to my classes.” Others said that they would never make it off campus if they did not use Blirpit. “I think my social life would be completely ruined,” sophomore Ezra Lebowitz said. “I would never know when the bus is.” Other students said that they did not mind the decision because Blirpit does not work as well as it should. “I’m not that upset about it’s not being funded because it’s never reliable,” sophomore Nellie Broderick said. “It would be a great system if it actually worked.”