Campus News in Brief

CMU, Pitt to shell out for busing

Students’ “free” bus rides are about to get more expensive.

Since the late 1990s, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh have had an agreement with Port Authority that allows the universities to pay a discounted rate for busing for all students and faculty. This payment is partially funded by students’ tuition payments. The arrangement entitles students and faculty members to unlimited bus transportation when they flash their IDs upon boarding or exiting a bus.

The contract for this agreement expired on July 31 and was extended through September with a 15 percent price increase. On Sept. 21, Port Authority officials proposed a five-year plan to offer continued discounted bus transportation to both schools, but at a 15 percent increase per year.

At present, Carnegie Mellon pays $881,000 per year for the service; Pitt pays $2.9 million. In 2012, the last year of the proposed agreement, Carnegie Mellon will pay $1.5 million and Pitt will pay $6.8 million.

Carnegie Mellon currently has 13,000 students and faculty; Pitt has 38,000.

“We’ve understood for some time that there would need to be an adjustment to bring our costs in closer line with the average fare,” said Michael Murphy, associate vice president of Carnegie Mellon, in a Sept. 22 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Students are worried that the agreement will cause a tuition increase

“We will need to pass on some portion of the increase to students, though we’ll be able to offset that a bit because we have a reserve that will allow us to soften that increase for the next few years,” Murphy said.

University holds Art/Tech summit

On Friday and Saturday, Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Arts Management and Technology hosted the Technology in the Arts Conference. The event brought together 200 arts leaders from all over the world to discuss how art is using technology in various dimensions, including expression, marketing, administration, audience development, and donor relations.

Jake Barton, founder of the design firm Local Projects, gave the keynote address. Barton discussed the use of media and participatory media by museums and other organizations to attract their audience’s attention and improve their audience’s overall experience. He mentioned the Carousel at Battery Park in New York City, which incorporates architecture, music, design, and art along with an aquarium theme to encourage people to visit the New York Aquarium.

Local Projects is currently designing the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the site of the former World Trade Center. The firm also works with the Tribeca Film Festival, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the Grand Central Terminal.

The conference also featured various lectures by experts on topics such as interdisciplinary work between arts and technology experts, digital imaging, virtual reality and copyrighting, according to an Oct. 9 university press release. Discussions covered new media such as podcasts, and the latest introductions to the Internet, such as RSS feeds.