The Daily Gamecock

SG president reveals iPad check-out plan

Wright discusses successes, goals in student body address

Student Body President Joe Wright announced an iPad 2 library check-out program and an initiative that would allow students to get discounts at off-campus businesses Wednesday evening during his State of the Student Body address.

The iPad 2 program, funded by the Thomas Cooper Library, would provide 20 of the tablets for students to use, beginning in January. Students would be able to check out the iPads for two or three days and could download any applications they want because the memory would be wiped when the devices are returned, Wright said.

Wright estimated the program’s cost to be about $10,000, which will be funded by the library and University Technology Services. He said Student Government is working with the Barnes and Noble University Bookstore to bring e-books to the tablets.

“In the future, we aim to provide a wide variety of educational content on these tablets, allowing students greater flexibility in the classroom,” Wright said.

The restaurant discount program, which Wright said will likely be dubbed Carolina Save, will seek to convince businesses in the Columbia Chamber of Commerce to offer students 10- to 20-percent discounts.

Wright said SG was taking a step away from students’ longtime demands for Carolina Cash to work at off-campus eateries.

“No one even looked at taking this approach to it,” Wright said. “It pretty much costs nothing. It’s not going to affect any student’s fees, any activity fees, or any student’s budget. A lot of other campuses already have this, such as Winthrop, College of Charleston and USC Beaufort.”

Wright also extolled the reopening Carolina Cab, the free taxi service that transports students home from Five Points within five miles of campus on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

“After recognizing the need for safe, reliable evening transportation around the Columbia area for students, Student Government worked together to ensure a viable option was available,” Wright said.

Carolina Cab reopened last week at a price of $850 a night. The program cost $250 a night when it stalled at the end of last semester due to bureaucracy. Though the service has been running for a few weeks this semester, the grand reopening ceremony will be held Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wright said the development of more dining options, including the Flex Meal Plan, was one of his proudest accomplishments as president.

“The Flex Meal Plan offers a greater set of options and flexibility to students,” Wright said. “They will no longer have to worry about losing money or meals and will no longer be constrained to specific dining hours.”

The Flex Plan came under criticism earlier this semester for costing students hundreds more than the retail value of the package.

“No one really likes change, but this plan is really beneficial to students,” Wright said.

Wright also highlighted the new, 100-percent compostable takeout boxes.

He said SG had stepped up local, state and national lobbying efforts and cooperation with USC’s seven satellite campuses.

“Students are no longer willing to sit on the sidelines while their futures are decided — our student body will lead the charge in creating a productive partnership with our lawmakers and will ensure that cultivating an intellectual society remains a priority in South Carolina,” Wright said.

He also highlighted a more efficient process for allocating money to student organizations. A record 92 student organizations requested funding this semester. Coy Gibson, chair of the finance committee, said only 60 to 70 student organizations had requested funds in the past. Funds will be allocated starting this week.

Wright said he thinks the biggest current concerns among students are football ticketing issues.

“We’re working drastically on the 2012 season so we’ll never have to deal with this again,” Wright said.

USC President Harris Pastides positively characterized Wright’s administration.

“This is my fourth year, so this is my fourth administration, and every one has had a different flavor to it, but they’ve all been good,” Pastides said. “This one has been highly efficient. They want to get things done when they meet with me.”