By Rose Leger – Copy-editor
One of the greatest things about our school is the variety and availability of resources. We are lucky to have a small community where service and random acts of kindness are common. The van service is one great asset that allows classes and clubs to travel anywhere. Being able to have a van is convenient, but finding someone to drive it is a different story.
As of October 15, there are 32 students and 65 faculty members certified to drive Lasell vans, and the certification process is open to anyone with a clean driving record. These drivers are sometimes not compensated by the school for their time operating the van, reimbursement is an independent decision left to the individual renting the vehicle.
I first utilized the vans during my freshman year to participate in the Boston Ballet classes in Newton and my Museum Discovery class took a van each time we visited a museum in the area. The alternative spring break group, among other service programs, also use the van to travel and serve communities outside of our own.
In my experience, obtaining the vehicle was no problem. I was forwarded the list of certified drivers and began reaching out to those I knew personally. They were all reluctant, I wondered why. I learned that none were willing to commit because they were sacrificing their time for nothing. My search for a van driver became a bartering process in finding the means to properly repay the volunteer. I was in a difficult position, uneasy about asking my dance team for donations, but knowing it is morally right to appropriately reimburse our driver for six hours of his Saturday night.
I’ve spoken with student drivers who have never received compensation. One professor tried for three weeks to get a van driver, and none were available. Is that because they thought they would never be paid? The lacking system leaves both renters and drivers in unecessary confusion.
The college needs to be responsible for paying the van drivers for their time and talent. If the position is so hard to obtain, those holding it deserve valid compensation. I believe if the van driver position is changed from volunteer to a fair-paying job on campus, application rates will rise, and the commitment of those already involved will increase.
I acknowledge the van service for the ways it has enriched myself and my peers’ education, but I believe the operators of the vans deserve an equal compensation.