Flyby Chats: HSA Shuttle Controller

Evan MacKay ’19: scholar by day, Shuttle Controller by night.
Evan MacKay ’19: scholar by day, Shuttle Controller by night. By Jonah S. Lefkoe

As many Harvard students who made the pilgrimage to New Haven before Thanksgiving break can attest, shuttles provided by Harvard Student Agencies were the glue that connected our campuses in fierce school spirit.

We at Flyby have found a hero in the person of Evan MacKay ’19, a Hollis Hall freshman from Vero Beach, FL who served as a Shuttle Controller for Harvard-Yale.

Flyby: How did you rise to this privileged appointment?

Evan: I saw an email about the opportunity to work for the shuttles team…I said that I was interested in taking on additional responsibilities beyond just being a monitor, and so I was chosen to be one of the Shuttle Controllers for the event.

Flyby: What is the job description for a Shuttle Controller?

The Shuttle Controllers are involved in the departures of all of the shuttles, and so we are in charge of swiping HUIDs and checking tickets… The Dean’s office needs to know where all the students are at all times, so that way if something happens to one of the buses, then we can immediately let them know who was on that bus and where they are…[our job was] maintaining accountability and ensuring safety for all the students.

Flyby: So what past leadership experiences best prepared you for this call to service?

Swiping my credit card at CVS definitely prepared me for this experience.

Flyby: Did you learn anything about Harvard students or about Life as a result of your experience as Shuttle Controller?

It definitely gave me a lot of insight into the jobs of people who are involved in transportation… I was talking to a guy last night and he said that he spent over 100 hours planning all the logistics that went into this short weekend event! It takes quite a bit of prior planning and organizational stuff. Anything that I’ve learned about life? Ummm, I’m not sure about that one.

Flyby: Nothing about life?

I don’t think so…

Flyby: When you’re not controlling shuttles, what do you like to do in your free-time?

I enjoy playing tennis, reading, and running around Boston.

Flyby: Were there any times this weekend when you were called into action in response to a shuttle emergency?

On the Friday night departures, one of the buses wasn’t starting, so that was a little bit of a difficulty. And then all of a sudden it did start, so weren’t really sure whether we could trust it getting to New Haven. But we figured it was probably just easier to go with it and hope it worked out, and it did, so that was pretty neat.

Flyby: But were you prepared to jump into action if anything should have happened?

Absolutely. We were ready to evacuate the students from the dangerous shuttle situation if the need arose.

I think something that I did not realize [before] this experience is how many times there would be a bus driver who would be like ‘Oh, I have no clue where we’re going for this,’ or ‘Can I follow one of the other buses? Because I don’t know where we’re going.’ … You think that those bus drivers have some sort of special [navigation] experience or something like that, but they’re just using Google Maps the same way we are. One of the bus drivers approached me and said, “Is Yale really 14 hours away,” and I said “I do not think so.” I looked on his Google Maps and he was in “biking mode.” … I didn’t think the Harvard students on the bus would be willing to wait for him to bike the bus to Yale.

Flyby: I’ve definitely never done that before. Let’s end with some rapid-fire questions: Are heroes born or made?

Heroes are made. By experiences such as this one.

Flyby: Harvard scarf, Harvard hat, or Harvard sweater?


Flyby: Harvard-Yale game-time, standing or Sitting?


Flyby: Do you endorse the optimal buzz?


Flyby:What is your position on hydration?

Always hydrate. Hydration is the key to success.

Flyby: What is your position on Yale?

Yuck Fale.

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