By Seif Selim
Travel arrangements can be something to worry about, especially if you are an international student. I remember when I was planning my return to Sewanee after going back home for the winter break, things could have gone much better. At the beginning, there was an 18-hour-long flight from Cairo, Egypt. Then I had to find another way of transportation to get me to the Mountain from the Atlanta airport, which took another three and half hours.
Atlanta is only two hours away, but the lack of a shuttle took an hour more than needed…It’s time that I could have used to rest, but instead I spent it on social media, and most importantly thinking about writing this article. A good question that may come to mind now is why Atlanta and not Nashville? Well, we can leave this to another time. For now, we can ask ourselves the important question: why is there not a student shuttle to take students to and from the airport?
Upon talking with some members of the international student body, I felt that this is a concern that needs to be voiced for the benefit of not only the global citizens at Sewanee but also domestic students who have to travel to go home. “Getting to the airport stays one of the biggest issues for international students who don’t have cars and have limited budgets,” said Kristina Romanenkova (C’23) when asked about her experience traveling to Sewanee. “We need a shuttle for car-less students,” she said.
Even after you get a ride, the closest a paid shuttle can get you to Sewanee is Monteagle. The University has dedicated shuttles to take students as far as Monteagle, but an extra step is yet to be taken to improve students’ travel experience.
“Having shuttle for different airports would be pretty unrealistic, but to and from Nashville airport at specific times of the year would be great in reducing financial burden and inconvenience, inherently due to Sewanee’s location,” said Pravesh Agarwal (C’23).
“Considering from a financial perspective,” said Agarwal, “it depends on the University’s choice as someone’s always got to pay for everything. The University could also fund a portion of it. A small fee could be incurred, which would be substantially less, when transporting people in a group.” Agarwal explained how students can have an active role in organizing and funding these trips. Although providing such service is not an obligation for the University, they still can take the initiative while giving the chance for students to contribute.
An example can be the efforts made by colleges like Hiram and Hendrix. They help students by arranging shuttles at specific times during the year when it is needed. While some would go and totally cover it for their students, others would charge a fee that is much less than what students would actually pay if they were on their own.
It will be great for all students who chose Sewanee as their new home to have something checked off their worry-about list. Like many small things in life, giving some attention to traveling logistics can make everyone’s day better and enhance the Sewanee experience. In the near future, I hope to see the University taking care of this issue.