For the first time in her 11-year presidency, President Judy Genshaft will ride the Bull Runner.
From 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. today, Genshaft will ride a full route at the request of 1,157 students who signed a petition to make it happen.
The ride will leave from the Patel Center and take Genshaft on a 30-minute tour of the campus in an effort to support the University’s commitment to sustainability.
The petition was created by a group of students as an assignment for Office of Sustainability Director Christian Wells’ Honors Applied Ethics seminar. The four students made an agreement at the beginning of the semester with the Office of the President that Genshaft would ride the Bull Runner for a full route if they could attain 1,000 signatures from students by April 20.
“The students were charged with creating an integrative ecosystem on campus,” Wells said. “I thought it would be a success because President Genshaft has come out in support of transportation issues before.”
The group planned the event to raise awareness of alternative transportation forms on campus, a topic group member Sibel Demirel, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences, said she did not realize students knew so little about it until she tried to get signatures.
“A lot of people would ask, ‘What alternative means of transportation?’ when we told them what we were doing,” she said, “or think we meant walking (was a form of alternative transportation).”
Demirel said attaining the signatures was more challenging than she had imagined.
“We know (Genshaft) would have done it anyway, but we wanted to make the mark,” she said. “We were kind of stressed out, but we got more than 1,000 signatures.”
The group attained 383 signatures through an online petition, but the majority of signatures were attained through the group’s presence at two Bull Market events and a five-hour campaign Monday that brought 300 signatures alone.
Demirel said she is grateful to those who took the time to listen to what the petition was about, though some listened and still didn’t want to sign because it didn’t directly benefit them or “because they weren’t allowed to sign petitions.”
Demirel said her group and Wells will board the bus with Genshaft and ride along Route A.
The “Get Judy on the Bus” Facebook event page currently has 106 attendees confirmed who also plan to see the president board the bus, and ride with her if there’s space.
Wells said the president’s precedent of using public transportation should not end with Genshaft’s return to the Patel Center.
“I’m happy that the president is in support (of using public transportation),” he said. “I’d like to see other administrators follow President Genshaft’s lead and talk to students on the bus. I’d like to see deans as well.”