VandyRide and Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) are working together to provide a free shuttle to the Green Hills Public Library to vote early on Oct. 22 and 24, per an email today from Vanderbilt Student Body President Veer Shah and Director of Active Citizenship and Service Elysa Garcia.
All undergraduate, graduate and professional students are eligible to use the shuttle but must register for the shuttle at least 24 hours in advance, per the email.
The email from Shah and Garcia was sent at approximately 11:50 a.m. CDT this morning. The 24-hour rule would have prevented students from registering for the 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Oct. 22 time slots.
Assistant Director in the Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS) Meagan Smith said she would accept all submissions for the Oct. 22 date until 11:59 p.m. CDT tonight.
“We just need to make sure that everything we are doing is aligned with university policy to keep everyone healthy and safe,” Smith said. “We got this information out as soon as we could.”
Shuttles will start running at 8 a.m. CDT on Oct. 22 and 24 and continue every hour on the hour until 5 p.m. on Oct. 22 and 2 p.m. on Oct 24. Students will be picked up from Rand Student Center on the hour, Highland Quad five minutes later and then Hank Ingram House 15 minutes after the hour. Students will be dropped out at Rand Student Center approximately 45 minutes after the hour, according to the Oct. 21 email.
Smith said the idea originated with the Vanderbilt Let’s Vote initiatives and continued in the form of regular discussions about transportation on campus.
“VUPD had asked how they could support the efforts and offered VandyRide vehicles,” Smith said. “That’s what really got things moving. It’s a coordinated effort to spread the word and talk about how we can support students voting. VUPD has really taken the lead in making it happen.”
Shah said that VSG worked with different offices, including the University Registrar, to figure out demographic information that would help to assess demand for shuttles. Garcia, a junior, who helped with collecting demographic data and coordinating the effort, said 257 undergraduates and 1896 graduate and professional students lived in Davidson County.
“Tennessee’s early voting dates are Oct. 14–29, when voters registered in Davidson County may cast their ballot at any early voting location. On Election Day, Nov. 3, registered voters must vote in person at their assigned polling place,” the email said.
Garcia spoke about the role that VSG plays on campus in identifying student needs and bring those concerns to administrators.
VandyRide will also be providing a shuttle to voting locations on Nov. 3. Details regarding the Nov. 3 date are forthcoming, per the email.
“It’s an initiative to show how important it is to vote—no matter what way they choose to vote, just to make sure they’re voting,” Shah said.