After many months of planning, the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) is very excited to announce a lease agreement with UW Fleet Services for a 30-passenger bus that we’ll be able to use for student field trips!
The bus, which will feature a SEFS wrap to promote our affiliation and activities, will provide a huge logistical and safety improvement for our programs. Instead of stringing out a caravan of Suburbans to reach field sites, we’ll now be able to fit a full class into a single bus—and also improve the quality of course delivery, as the bus will have a PA system for lecturing during the drive. It will additionally have wireless internet, a low-emission option for running on propane, adequate ground clearance, and an easy-to-clean interior. So we’ll eliminate the time it takes to gather and park several vehicles, as well as the concern of depending on multiple student drivers.
Some of the details are still being finalized, but the bus will be managed and maintained by Fleet Services, and the plan is to have it delivered by late August and ready in time for autumn courses. It will be an ideal option for courses with enrollment greater than 14 students, or more than will fit in two Suburbans. SEFS will have priority for usage, and if you want to use the bus, you will need to figure out your field trip dates for all three academic quarters and send them to Michelle Trudeau no later than August 10. All requests must go through Michelle, who will forward them to Fleet Services for scheduling (with our courses having priority over all other units).
The bus will have to be driven by an individual with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger endorsement coordinated by Transportation Services Business Mobility Group. Overall, the cost of leasing it will be somewhat higher than the rental of three Suburbans, but you will not have to pay the difference, as SEFS will subsidize this cost until we adjust course fees for the following year. That said, the more the bus is scheduled, the lower the cost to the school, so please use it!
In the meantime, start getting excited for a tremendous upgrade to our field program!