[media-credit id=2019 align=”alignnone” width=”500″][/media-credit]
After students said they wanted an easier way to attend church off campus, the university implemented shuttles that take them to nearby churches every Sunday.
Sophomore mechanical engineering major Peter Cramer said he and other members of the Christian Fellowship met with Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Thompson to discuss several issues and mentioned a shuttle would make it more convenient for them to get to church. Cramer said within a few hours the university sent out an email announcing Sunday morning shuttles to the New Haven Green.
Parking and Transportation Coordinator for Public Safety Shanon Grasso said adding the church shuttles was an easy process to do and it didn’t negatively impact the other shuttle schedules.
“It really wasn’t a hard stretch to just reconfigure the New Haven town and train to start it just a little bit early and it goes three times before its regular service starts,” Grasso said.
The Director of Religious Life Jordan Lenaghan said that his office had no involvement with the church shuttles.
“The request to the university did not originate from the Office of Religious Life. We are not involved in the details, nor are we coordinating the shuttles,” he said in an email.
There was an announcement made to the student body last month about the shuttles beginning their service on Nov. 15. They pick up students at The Common bridge on Sundays the morning hourly, at 8:20 a.m., 9:20 a.m., 10:20 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. and drops off students at the New Haven Green at 8:45 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m respectively. The Center Church, an Episcopal and a Lutheran church are located near the New Haven Green.
The regular town and train shuttle will then begin at noon, thus commencing its regular schedule.
Cramer said the New Haven Green was picked as the drop-off spot because there are several churches from different denominations nearby.
Still, freshman John Welsh said he probably would not use the shuttle since he is Catholic and there is a mass on campus.
“I am a Catholic and we’re still meeting in the Buckman Theater every Sunday rather than getting anything else,” he said.
Grasso suggested what students could do if they see a problem with the current church shuttle services.
“If there is a group that is in need of something, I would definitely recommend asking for the service [through administration],” Grasso said.
Still, Welsh said he’d prefer practicing his religion on campus rather than going to a church.
“I feel so long as we have the eucharist and the priest, it doesn’t really matter where we are,” he said.
There are some students, like freshman Jordan Urbani, who believe otherwise.
“If people are complaining about not having the ability to go to church, then once they have it a lot of people will utilize it,” Urbani said. “It would be very beneficial for them because if they are very religious, they would want to take time out of the way to go somewhere where they can practice their religion, instead of having someone come here [to campus].”
UPDATE AND CORRECTION: This online version is different from the article that appeared in the Dec. 9 print issue. The article was updated to include information from sophomore Peter Cramer. It was also corrected to clarify that there are several churches from different denominations near the New Haven Green. The article also was corrected to reflect that the students did not go to the Student Government Association to add these shuttles. To see the original print version of the article, you may pick up a copy of the issue around campus or view the issue online.