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ECU Student Government Association are in the process of the search for the new provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and plans for new initiatives on campus such as alternative safe ride options.

East Carolina University’s Student Government Association (SGA) has continued work on a new, free rideshare option for students along with the search process for a new provost.

SGA President Chandler Ward said he and Vice President Savannah Slade have been  formulating and following through on projects to better student lives at ECU, one of which includes creating ECU Rideshare, a new and affordable way for students to use when Safe Ride is not available during the night. Ward said he is also part of the search committee for the new provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.

The provost is the senior academic officer at ECU and leads all academic programming and works with all different deans across the university, Ward said. He said the search committee has been in the process of speaking with candidates from various backgrounds and are in the final stages of selecting someone for the position.

Ward said there was a largely diverse population of candidates and, as of November, it was narrowed down to four candidates, and those four were then able to come to the university for on-campus interviews. He added that the SGA council was involved and had asked questions to the candidates and gave the candidates an opportunity to ask questions of their own to the council.

“We went through those formal interviews and now the committee has met, this past Friday (Nov. 5), for the final time and brought their recommendations to the chancellor. Now the chancellor has everything he needs to have to make his formal selection,” Ward said.

Another project SGA has been working on is a way for students to be able to use an alternative for Safe Ride called ECU Rideshare. Slade said that SGA is trying to form a partnership with a company, such as Lyftto create a free Rideshare covered by the tuition fees.

Slade said there was an attempt to partner with Lyft and it is a past initiative that former SGA members had. She said that she and Michael Wright, director of university affairs at ECU, are reviving the idea. She said she was able to attend a few meetings from last year but was put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that she will be meeting with people such as the Director of ECU Transit Wood Davidson.

“We have our next meeting for that next week so we will get the ball rolling on that and hopefully get a new ride share program in the spring,” Slade said.

Uriel Solano, a sophomore construction management major, said that the idea of the ECU Rideshare project is useful. Solano added that it is a little disconcerting walking back from the library late when rideshare is off duty.

Solano said that it could help in a multitude of ways. He said for instance when students are downtown or are out with a friend and are in need of a ride back, this would be the safest way for the student to return to their desired location.

“Since it’s free it really helps me out because as a college student we can’t work that much (to pay for an Uber),” Solano said.

Junior public health major, Ana Horton, said that on occasion she will go to the bars on Friday and Saturday nights and usually ends up staying there until 2 a.m. Horton said it is a struggle at times to find an Uber or someone sober to pick her up when she needs a ride.

Horton said that her safety was a big determining factor in who she would select a ride with and wanted someone she could trust. She said that she has had times where she has been in a situation where she could not find a ride and resented the feeling of being stuck. 

“I have had instances (of not getting a ride back) and it’s not a great feeling and you don’t know what to do. Having a safe ride home is a necessity to have,” Horton said.

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