By Julia Skrobak, Special to the Chronicle
Hofstra University's Student Government Association recently passed a resolution to terminate the use of their vans, a move that is seriously hindering the initiative of campus clubs and organizations.
SGA President David Zuniga said the decision resulted from years of inactivity of the school-owned vans. Zuniga admitted that bureaucratic issues and mechanical problems made the two 10-person vans difficult for clubs and organizations to use in the past. The use of one van is still permitted, but that one van cannot leave campus.
Paw Pals, a club devoted to protecting animal rights, has been trying for the past year to use the vans to volunteer at Bobbi and the Strays Animal Shelter in Freeport, N.Y. Club President Renee Giglio, a junior who started the club last fall, said she could not find enough reliable members with cars, so the club was restricted to making only one visit a week with one or two cars.
Giglio said many people have expressed interest in the club, but they cannot fully participate due to the lack of transportation. Now Paw Pals is struggling to find a way to stay active without the SGA vans.
"Our main initiative is to visit the shelter," said Giglio. "If we can't do that, the whole purpose of our club would cease to exist."
Zuniga said he sympathizes with Paw Pals and encourages the club to continue their work.
"Just because they can't use the vans doesn't mean they should stop volunteering," said Zuniga.
Ian Stoneking, a junior baritone saxophone player and Captain of the Hofstra Pep Band, said the news about the vans came as a shock to him. The Pep Band has used the vans for many years to transport their heavy instruments and equipment to and from practices and events. Without the vans, Stoneking said the band will have to carry their instruments, adding time and inconvenience to their schedule.
"It's going to be a huge debacle," said Stoneking.
Stoneking said he hopes there is some way SGA can provide transportation for the Pep Band, in order to make the members' lives easier.
Giglio, however, is not giving up on the vans. She has been circulating petitions to convince SGA to donate the vans to Bobbi and the Strays instead of selling them. Though Zuniga said the vans are in poor condition, Giglio hopes they will still be usable. The shelter could use the vans for events like dog walks and Paw Pals members would have reliable transportation, allowing the club to expand.
Paw Pals member Dana Laderer, a sophomore, is also working to save the club. She explained that Paw Pals is important not only to her, but to the staff at the shelter as well.
"It's a small shelter and they struggle," said Laderer. "They really need the extra help."
Zuniga said SGA will meet with the Division of Student Affairs within the next couple of weeks to figure out what will be done with the two vans.