Oct 262003
 
Authors: Taylour Nelson

In an attempt to make the streets of Fort Collins safer, the

Associated Students of CSU launched their new RamRide program

Friday night, with the support of CSU President Larry Penley and

Rep. Mark Udall.

This weekend, 462 students called RamRide to be driven home

safely from bars, parties and restaurants.

Designed to give students a safe, nonjudgmental ride home for

free, RamRide will be available on Friday and Saturday nights

between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. The program will be run by trained

student volunteers who answer phone calls and pick up students who

are too drunk to drive home.

“We’re trying to do a culture shift where we’re really promoting

that people don’t drink and drive or choose an unsafe avenue when

they could have a safe one,” said ASCSU President Jesse

Lauchner.

Students can call 491-3333 to be connected with a volunteer who

will dispatch one of the 10 vehicles used each night to drive

students home. The volunteers will consist of a male and female

navigator and a driver.

“The willingness and support shows that people are looking out

for their fellow students,” said Kevin McCartin, a junior

environmental health major and volunteer for RamRide. “A program

like this shows that people care for their fellow students and are

willing to give up their time.”

CSU President Larry Penley addressed a crowd of students outside

the Lory Student Center on Friday acknowledging the work that was

put into the program.

“The kinds of entrepreneurship represented by the program, and

the pragmatism that you can see in its execution, are all comments

about the quality of our students at CSU,” Penley said.

“Recognizing the health and safety of your fellow students as an

issue for which you have responsibility is a real positive

statement for all of you.”

U.S. Rep. Mark Udall also spoke of RamRide’s merits.

“It has to benefit the community; if you prevent one accident

from occurring or prevent one young woman who is walking home late

from being assaulted, that’s benefiting the community,” Udall said.

“I think psychologically, just knowing that (RamRide) is in place

adds value and makes this community more secure and therefore more

healthy.”

During the ASCSU elections last spring, RamRide was a major

platform for Lauchner and Vice President Katie Clausen, who noticed

that students considered drinking and driving a major problem on

campus.

“It was in response to one of the most pertinent needs on

campus, which is keeping students safe by keeping them off the road

and out of drinking and driving situations,” Lauchner said.

Leslie Jones, a sophomore anthropology major, was relieved to

hear that ASCSU has started a program to reduce the number of drunk

drivers on the streets at night.

“It’s a great idea, it scares me to be out at two or three in

the morning around campus because of all the drunk drivers,” she

said.

Lauchner and Clausen modeled RamRide after a similar program at

Texas A&M. Its carpool program has been used since 1999 and has

provided more than 41,881 rides to its students. The positive

effect carpool had on the students and community at Texas A&M

appealed to Lauchner and Clausen, who decided to implement a

similar program at CSU.

RamRide is operated through ASCSU and funded by outside

donations. Sprint PCS and Enterprise Rent-A-Car will provide the

phones and vehicles used in the program.

Ben Goldstein, director of Student Services, the extension of

ASCSU in charge of RamRide, stressed that even though the program

is heavily focused on intoxicated students who need a sober ride,

it is also available to students who may need a ride home for other

reasons, such as leaving an uncomfortable situation.

“We are a completely nonjudgmental program. We really encourage

everyone to use the program if they feel they need it, whether they

are intoxicated or not,” Goldstein said.

Students who are interested in a safe ride home can call (970)

491-3333, or #RIDE on a Sprint PCS phone.

Interested in volunteering?

ASCSU is still accepting applications for volunteers at RamRide.

To get involved, either stop by the ASCSU office in the Lory

Student Center or find out about the program online at

ascsu.colostate.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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