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SFU students mobilizing for TransLink referendum

Chardaye Bueckert and Julia Lane are among the volunteers from three student groups at Simon Fraser University working to raise awareness about the TransLink funding referendum that is expected to be held this fall. The groups have also sent a letter to the transportation minister expressing their concerns about transit service to the campus and importance of getting the student vote out for the referendum. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
Chardaye Bueckert and Julia Lane are among the volunteers from three student groups at Simon Fraser University working to raise awareness about the TransLink funding referendum that is expected to be held this fall. The groups have also sent a letter to the transportation minister expressing their concerns about transit service to the campus and importance of getting the student vote out for the referendum.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER

Three groups at Simon Fraser University have teamed up to launch an information campaign to ensure students' voices are heard at the TransLink funding referendum later this year.

But with no date and no question yet set for the vote, which will determine how TransLink will pay for future services, it's a bit of a moving target, admitted Chardaye Bueckert of the Simon Fraser Student Society.

So that's why her group, the Graduate Student Society and Sustainable SFU are concentrating their early efforts on making students aware of the vote and collecting their contact information so they'll be able to send out more targeted information when the time comes.

With 90 per cent of the student body using transit to get to school, they're already bending a lot of ears.

"People go from defeated to rather excited," said Julia Lane of the Graduate Student Society of the discussions she and a team of volunteers have had with students passing by their table in the Academic Quad.

"Everybody's got horror stories about bus drive-bys," said Bueckert of the often full buses that bypass stops on their way to the Burnaby Mountain campus. "It's a pretty big stressor for a lot of students."

And it's only getting bigger, with the recent loss of about 1,000 parking spots in a parking lot that has been closed to make way for a new condo development.

Bueckert said inadequate transit consistently turns up as a complaint of undergrad students who complete an exit survey about their experience at SFU when they graduate.

The groups also sent a joint letter to the Minister of Transportation expressing their concerns about transit and desire to work with the government to ensure strong participation in the referendum from students.

Among their ideas to really fire up students as the referendum date draws nearer is to bring a gondola car to campus to display during orientation. One of the proposals that has been floating around for years to improve transit to SFU is a gondola that would directly connect the school to the Production Way SkyTrain station.

They're also planning to pass out flyers to students left waiting at stops by full buses.

"We're treating this like a political campaign," said Lane.

 

 

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