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Blugold Saturday Night Shuttle program begins Sept. 3

RELEASED: Sept. 2, 2011

Saturday Night Shuttle

EAU CLAIRE — Options for what to do on a Saturday night just opened up for University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students.

Beginning Sept. 3 and continuing every Saturday of the fall semester (except Thanksgiving weekend), the Blugold Saturday Night Shuttle will provide students free transportation to Eau Claire shopping and entertainment districts during hours when city bus service is unavailable. The shuttle, which will run from 6 p.m. Saturday until 2 a.m. Sunday each weekend, will include pickup and drop-off stops convenient for students who live both on and off campus. The shuttle schedule, which may change as the program progresses during the semester, is available online.

Students riding the shuttle will have opportunities to participate in a "Cash Cab" spinoff activity, during which individuals will be randomly selected to answer trivia questions. Those answering correctly will win prizes donated by local businesses.

The Blugold Saturday Night Shuttle is a pilot program supported by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate, with initial funding for the first four weeks from a Wisconsin Department of Transportation grant. The idea for the shuttle program came from discussions by Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich's Alcohol Safety Team.

"Student Senate chose to fund the pilot program because we saw the potential in a late-night bus that would be able to bring students to sites all over Eau Claire that normally would not be within walking distance," said Phil Rynish, UW-Eau Claire student body president. "Because many students in the residence halls do not bring vehicles with them to UW-Eau Claire, the chance to offer our students transportation to these recreational opportunities was one we did not want to pass up."

The Student Senate will conduct a study to determine how popular and useful the shuttle program is and decide sometime mid-semester whether to fund the program in future semesters, Rynish said. Ridership data will be collected by student staff working on the shuttle. Student staff also will conduct the trivia contests and distribute prizes.

"Many of our students are looking for access to the many entertainment options in the community, and we think the shuttle will be a great service to them," said Jennifer Lee, co-chair of UW-Eau Claire's Alcohol Safety Team.

Alcohol will not be allowed on the shuttle, and passengers who are visibly under the influence of alcohol may be refused shuttle service at the discretion of the shuttle's student staff, Lee said.

Brianna Burke, a student member of the Alcohol Safety Team, said the shuttle program gives students more options for weekend activities.

"The Blugold Saturday Night Shuttle program provides students with a means of safe and fun transportation on Saturday nights," Burke said. "This program is great news for students without vehicles on campus, as they can now go shopping or to the movies in the evening."

For more information about the Blugold Saturday Night Shuffle, contact Jennifer Lee at 715-456-4567 or leejs@uwec.edu, Matt Winarski at 901-581-1137 or winarsmp@uwec.edu, or Phil Rynish at 920-595-0443 or rynishpp@uwec.edu.

-30-

JP/DW

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