$95K Huskie Pups used for only 36 days, showing NIU’s wastefulness


Michael Herrera, senior political science major, looks out the window of the Huskie Pup Bus Oct. 7 as he takes a ride to class. Three Huskie Pups arrived to campus Monday, but they will not be available for students until next week, said Bill Nicklas, vice president of Operations and Community Relations. 

After the $95,500 purchase of four Huskie Pups that couldn’t make it through the winter, NIU should be more wary while making purchases for its Master Plan Thesis.

Bought to provide transportation via shuttle from one end of the campus to the other, the Pups took students from the Martin Luther King Jr. Commons to as far as the Recreation Center. Along the way, Pup riders may have caught a glimpse of the 2,018 trees across campus and an empty Douglas Hall ready for deconstruction — all a part of the Master Plan Thesis.

The Pups were decommissioned Nov. 21 for weather-related safety issues after making their debut on Oct. 3. The original $40,000 Pup was around for about 36 days, while the $18,500 Pups had even less time to ride around campus as they arrived weeks after the original Pup.

Though the Pups are expected to return after spring Break, they will still only be useful to students in warm temperatures from March to early May and cool temperatures from late August to November since they can’t handle DeKalb’s cold.

Although the Student Association provided no funding for the Pups, SA President Joe Frascello said it serves to promote the use of the Pups to students. If more research was done into the kind of vehicle being purchased, Frascello said, NIU would’ve been able to have a Pup that would last longer in the cold.

“I think a little more research would have gone a long way in terms of realizing that the Pups don’t last very long in the cold,” Frascello said. They “were purchased from a company in Florida, where the cold isn’t so much of a problem and it doesn’t seem that it was followed through with the temperature considerations.”

Frascello said he has not heard complaints about the Pups being inactive in the cold, but he has heard students say they want to see different routes, such as to Barsema Hall from the residence halls.

Since this is just the beginning of the Master Plan Thesis, NIU should do more research before spending money on things that may not be useful to students or staff.