ATFAB increases equity focus for student-funded projects

People+walk+along+the+new+Monfort+Quad+Trail+Sept.+1%2C+2021.+The+trail+was+funded+partially+by+money+allocated+by+the+Alternative+Transportation+Fee+Advisory+Board.+

Collegian | Luke Bourland

People walk along the new Monfort Quad Trail Sept. 1, 2021. The trail was funded partially by money allocated by the Alternative Transportation Fee Advisory Board.

Jordan Mahaffey, Staff Reporter

Members of Colorado State University’s Alternative Transportation Fee Advisory Board have put in efforts to ensure projects funded by the board are more equitable and valuable to students. 

According to ATFAB’s website, the board provides guidance and advice to the president of the Associated Students of Colorado State University and the alternative transportation manager about CSU’s contract with Transfort and other transportation needs. The board also oversees the allocation of funding from the $33.65-per-person alternative transportation fee paid by full-time on-campus students for projects proposed to the board, all with the goal of providing or improving transportation facilities for CSU students.

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“A big part of what ATFAB does is oversee the contracts that the university has with Transfort,” said Kenneth Kinneer, ATFAB financial board member. “That’s a large chunk of our budget that goes toward that contract. The board manages the alternative transportation fee that students pay, … and that goes toward the contract, new infrastructure projects and programs.” 

The programs funded by ATFAB are decided by the board during the spring, and in the fall, the board focuses on evaluating how the award funds are used and updating the project application, explained Aaron Fodge, ATFAB advisor and alternative transportation manager for CSU’s Parking and Transportation Services.

Project applications are linked on ATFAB’s website and are due Jan. 20, 2023.

ATFAB accepts two different kinds of project proposals.

“We have programmatic projects and infrastructure projects,” said Helen Flynn, ATFAB chairperson. “The programmatic projects are things like The Spoke, Rams Ride Right and SkiSU. … The infrastructure projects are things like the bike roundabout inbetween the (Lory Student Center) and the library, Hughes Way and the Monfort Quad (Crossing) Trail.” 

We are really trying to diversify the board and increase our cultural awareness and competency. I think that (diversity, equity and inclusion) is becoming a really important thing, especially for a board that’s representing the university.” –Helen Flynn, Alternative Transportation Fee Advisory Board chair

Other projects funded by the board are listed on the Funded Projects page of its website.

The board decides on the allocation of funds based on the project rating criteria they release.

“We go back and look to see what the current year’s board would like to change, and we release our application with the new, updated scoring criteria,” Flynn said. “That is basically so that we have a consistent metric used for each project.” 

One of the changes made by the board this year was to put a bigger emphasis on equity.

“We have kind of a renewed focus on equity considerations and the way that we evaluate projects,” Kinneer said. “We, the board, have now updated our scoring criteria to reflect a greater commitment to bringing value to students and meeting the needs of the CSU community. Ensuring that we fund projects that are safe, impactful and equitable are some of our most important considerations.”

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In addition to putting a focus on equity in their scoring criteria, ATFAB is also taking lengths to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion in the board itself.

“It’s important for the board to have representation across all the college councils,” Fodge said. “It also has representatives from ASCSU and the (CSU Graduate Student Council). This is a fee board that is taking an allocation of students and fees and representing them. It’s used in a fair and equitable manner to award transportation projects on campus for the benefit of students.”

“We are really trying to diversify the board and increase our cultural awareness and competency,” Flynn said. “I think that (diversity, equity and inclusion) is becoming a really important thing, especially for a board that’s representing the university. We can’t have a room of people who all look the same, and so we have done our best to recruit diverse members, but to make up for what we may be lacking in and some opinions that we may be missing out on, we are going to have some diversity trainings and a presentation from diversity professionals.”

Currently, the board is working on providing transportation to and from the University Center for the Arts.

“As it stands, there really isn’t that transportation infrastructure for students,” Kinneer said. “It’s a concern because you’d have musicians with heavy instruments who are forced to essentially walk under the … underpass that leads to the CSU flower gardens and then on to the UCA. … We’re considering going with a third-party company to provide that shuttling service. It’s not set in stone yet.”

Reach Jordan Mahaffey at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @_MahaffeyJordan.