The Safe Ride volunteer program is hoping to make changes to drum up more volunteers. Seniors Breanna Morse and Anthony Sawyer have stepped into the role of coordinators for the 2016-2017 school year, and one of the changes they want to make is in how volunteers are paid for their time.
“We are trying to change the compensation system,” Morse said. “Last year, the drivers got $45, and then the passenger only got a $5 voucher to Fireside.”
The hope is that this year drivers will be paid $35, and the passenger will get $10.
“That’s what we’re trying to do, and then they would get a $15 to $20 voucher to Fireside, so they could still get food,” Morse said.
Morse said they are also talking about the idea of a “Cash Cab” style game show as an incentive to get students to take the ride home offered.
The Safe Ride program has faced volunteer issues in the past, evidenced by an article in the Castleton Spartan from 2013.
“The unfortunate variable is that we just don’t have enough students willing to volunteer their time,” said Joseph Zeitler, advisor for the Safe Ride program. “Even if a student were willing to volunteer for one night out of their entire four years at Castleton, we would have Safe Ride covered to run all year. I think that’s really important for folks to understand.”
Some of the issues for Safe Ride, however, are out of the hands of the coordinators.
“I just don’t have time,” 21-year-old Castleton student Allison Sibley said. “I was a CA last year, so I never got to do it because I was always on duty. This year, I live off campus, so I haven’t been able to get there yet.”
When asked about the potential changes to the program, Sibley and her friend Morgan Hart, also a student at Castleton, said that they would be less likely to volunteer their time to drive.
“I wouldn’t want to be paid less than what people were last year,” Sibley said. “They had a hard time getting people to do it last year as is, but I feel like paying less isn’t a good way to get more people to volunteer.”
Hart said she has never used Safe Ride.
“They got full one night. I think I ended up walking instead,” she said. “But usually, it doesn’t run. I remember calling, and they never answered.”
Sawyer said demand for rides varies.
“There are some nights when we get no calls at all, and then there are other nights where we are backed up with five or six calls ahead of us, and then someone will call and we have to tell them something like we can’t because we’ll be going an extra hour or two, or we will have to tell them some amount of time, like 30 minutes, before we can pick them up,” Sawyer said.
Sawyer said the program itself has worked as a whole, but noted that students not having time and coupled with a lack of interest has contributed to not having enough volunteers for Safe Ride to run every night.
“I know that the volunteer thing (lack of volunteers) will result in Safe Ride not running a certain night, and people getting upset that they can’t use it at all,” he said.
According to Sawyer, the program cannot run solely on the backs of the coordinators.
“Breanna and I may be coordinators for it, but it’s not really up to us to get it to run,” he said. “It’s up to the student body to get it to run by going out and volunteering. It’s a good way to give back to the school.”