Senate passes prescription delivery, taxi proposals

On Monday, March 31, the 44th Student Senate met for the final time to discuss proposals prepared by the Student Life Committee for an on-campus prescription delivery service, while the other was for a flat-rate taxi agreement. Judicial Board bylaws were also voted on.

Student Life Committee Chair Kyle Keraga ’15 presented the prescription delivery proposal. SLC had begun working on pharmacy options after SLC learned through outreach that it was a major student concern. Currently, students who need to fill a prescription have no on-demand, centralized place to go to for prescription ordering or pickup. There is a shuttle pass offered by the Health Center for ill students, but it only takes them to Samaritan, not Rite Aid. Reasons for this service to be implemented include time, efficiency, and lack of cost. After doing initial research, SLC discovered that, legally, someone had to be available for counseling wherever prescriptions are picked up.

Keraga explained that SLC had benchmarked peer institutions to examine comparable services. Other colleges, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Marist, already have some form of prescription delivery service or even an on-campus pharmacy. Prescription delivery programs generally do not cost money because of the pharmacy being partnered with benefits from the program. SLC contacted local pharmacies and Dr. Lawrence from the Health Center for more information. SLC also made contact with Todd Pikor, CVS’s Regional Manager, who had expressed interest in establishing the program. The SLC proposal recommends a prescription delivery service partnering the Health Center with CVS. Prescriptions would be paid by RPI health insurance, with the co-pay being paid through the Bursar account.

Keraga thanked Lexi Rindone ’15, chairman of the Health Services Subcommittee of SLC, and all committee members for their hard work. He then opened the floor for questions. Greg Niguidula ’15 asked what would happen if students were not on the RPI health insurance plan. Rindone explained that students would still only have to pay the co-pay required for prescription delivery. Shoshana Rubinstein ’16 asked what would happen if there was a high volume of prescriptions, to which Keraga answered that only a full service pharmacy would demand a high cost—a delivery service could be established without a heavy financial burden. Rindone said that the local CVS needs more business. Director of the Union Joe Cassidy asked what would happen if prescriptions were prescribed by a primary care physician. Keraga answered that they could still be filed with the Health Center for delivery. The motion passed 19-0.

Rindone presented the flat-rate taxi proposal SLC has been working on, developed through her subcommittee. She noted that present transportation options are not always flexible or on demand. Except for Public Safety escorts, there are no late night options, and Public Safety explicitly cannot be used for taxi purpose. A taxi service would benefit students without driver’s licenses.

SLC received feedback for the project through the RPI subreddit. Students had raised concerns regarding inconsistency in price. The Senate Survey indicated heavy student use for taxis, and lower student interest in using taxis in the future—a published flat rate partnership could increase retention while establishing a stronger student guarantee. A flat rate would guarantee students would know how much the taxi ride would cost when getting into the taxi.

Troy’s Business Improvement District did a $4 flat rate service using Black & White Taxi between Troy and RPI some time ago, but it had been discontinued as Black & White did not advertise much to RPI students. Higher advertising could guarantee a beneficial partnership, and create possibilities for future expansion including health-related transport and payment with Rensselaer Advantage Dollars. Rindone noted that when passed by the Senate, the proposal would be given to the administration for final review.

Questions were taken by Rindone. Grand Marshal Chuck Carletta ’14 asked how long ago the Black & White Taxi service was discontinued, to which Rindone said that her contact didn’t tell her. The motion passed 19-0.

The J-Board bylaws were out of date and were difficult to read. One change would allow the J-Board to select its own Vice Chairman. Conditional on the Union Constitution amendments, the rest of the J-Board bylaws were amended. Both motions passed.

After committee reports, Carletta announced that it was the last Senate meeting and he had really enjoyed the year. This was his fourth year on Senate and his most fun. He thanked the Senators and noted that they have accomplished great things this year. Carletta then concluded the final meeting of the 44th Student Senate.