Undergraduate Spring/Summer U-Pass begins

(Edmonton) Transit just got more accessible for University of Alberta undergraduate and graduate students planning to take a course or two over the spring and summer months.

Undergraduate students who are taking courses in the 2013 spring or summer semesters are now eligible to use the Spring/Summer U-Pass. Starting April 15, they can stop by their nearest InfoLink location to pick up a sticker.

For the past two years, U of A graduate students have been able to enjoy the financial, social and environmental benefits of the Edmonton area’s only spring and summer U-Pass program. And after the success of the graduate program, it didn’t take long for undergraduate students to ask for one too. In a Students’ Union referendum last March, 83 per cent of undergrads voted yes on the matter.

Aside from proud ownership of a shiny new sticker, what does the Spring and Summer U-Pass mean for students? U of A student Claude Alain St. Amand Hubert thinks “it will be a good deal” financially. He explains that monthly “bus passes are really expensive”—the average monthly pass is now $90—and at just $116.67 for four months, the U-Pass should make transit more accessible for students.

Saadiq Sumar, Students’ Union vice-president of student life, hopes that along with saving money, “students continue to take full advantage of this program by not only using it for academic purposes but also exploring what Edmonton, Strathcona County and St. Albert have to offer. The three municipalities have rich culture and heritage, and students should strive to learn more than just what is being taught in the classroom.”

Students like Christine Kaspick agree with Sumar’s broader view of the program. Kaspick says participating students will “still have [access to transit during] the evenings and weekends,” which means that after class, they will still be able to use the U-Pass to get to their summer jobs or to the many events and festivals that take place around the city.

For Trina Innes, director of the U of A’s Office of Sustainability, the U-Pass benefits go even further. “Small lifestyle changes, such as taking public transit, are simple and inexpensive ways of making your life more sustainable,” she says. “The U-Pass not only reduces the environmental impacts of our students' transportation, but also makes public transit more accessible, ultimately increasing support for more sustainable transportation now and into the future.”

The Spring/Summer U-Pass will be valid between May 1 and Aug. 31. Undergraduate or graduate students whose classes don’t begin until June can still collect their U-Pass sticker starting April 15. Students who want to find out whether they are eligible can check their “Fee Assessment” on Bear Tracks.

YouAlberta is the official blog about student life at the U of A. Its contributors are members of the Student Communicators Team, and as current students, they know what it's like to balance study, work and play at the U of A.