After multiple years of development, the university’s in-house app developer created the UTD app that entered the beta-testing phase toward the beginning of the summer. Student Government President JW Van Der Schans, as well as the bulk of SG members, are part of the beta testing. The majority of the apps features are operational. These include the real-time tracking of Comet Cabs, parking information and links to commonly used websites, such as the library’s site. Testers are giving more feedback to the app developer before the full release of the app. SG expects to release the app by the end of the semester.
Communications Committee Chair Eric Chen is working on a new student utility called the SU Scroller. The Scroller is a graphic providing information about SG meetings, upcoming events and ways to contact SG. It will be displayed on the TVs located on the second floor of the Student Union, near the Subway and Ben & Jerry’s. The information displayed on the Scroller will update every week.
Campus Safety and Police Call Boxes
Sammy Lutes, chair of the Student Affairs Committee, is inquiring about police call boxes and how they are currently impacting student safety. Addison Larson, a SG senator leading the project, conducted a detailed report investigating the call boxes. She found that UTD has a relatively low number of call boxes when compared to other Texas universities. Lutes proposes that possible solutions may be increasing accessibility of UTD PD by cell phone or installing more call boxes across the university. Lutes is also looking into reports of poor call box functionality.
Dhiren Kisani, head of the Technology Committee, is investigating the viability of putting Amazon Locker on campus. Amazon Locker is a service where Amazon customers can send eligible items to self-service kiosks for pickup or return. The idea behind the project is to provide commuters a convenient way of receiving their packages. The project is in the early stages of planning. The committee expects to release a survey about the lockers within a week’s time.
Housing for International Students
In light of concerns about availability and student safety, head of the Graduate and International Affairs Committee Jason Waye opened a dialogue with UTD administration about providing international students with on-campus housing. Choices for off-campus housing remains limited for international students, due to restrictions associated with their F1 visas and obtaining a Social Security card. UTD’s International Center gave reports to Waye that raise concerns of student safety in off-campus housing. These reports include incidents of international graduate students being the victims of vandalism, breaking and entering and burglary. Waye’s intention is to make the process of finding housing for international students an easy and comfortable experience.