In early November it was announced that the Safe Ride program, which had previously been mothballed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, is returning to Castleton University. Students received an email on Nov. 18, 2021, from Student Government Association delegate, Tyler Gouvan, about this program that attempts to curb drinking and driving.
And the student climate surrounding this returning policy has been almost entirely positive.
The prevalence of drinking and driving on Castleton University campus has been discussed ad nauseum. Students risking the life of both themselves and their community members by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is a real and present danger. Risky behavior is already common practice among college students.
“It sounds pretty smart, looking out for general student safety,” freshman Caleb Besaw said.
However, several questions were raised by the student body.
“That’s a good idea but I’m wondering about the radius. I think there needs to be awareness to call because they think they’ll get in trouble,” freshman Nate Forgan said.
Freshman Amber Cuthbert had similar inquiries.
“How do they even know where the parties are?” she questioned.
Tyler Gouvan, the student responsible for bringing the project back, was asked about the project at his office—which he walked into carrying a massive jug of water, slamming it down on the desk.
“You need to drink a gallon a day to stay hydrated,” Gouvan said.
In Gouvan’s own words, safe ride, “is a service provided by SGA to try to make transportation back to campus from parties safe.”
Gouvan also mentioned the issues that he ran into when trying to start the program back up again.
“Due to COVID, starting this program back up has been pretty challenging—between trying to make it as safe as possible for the passengers, but also the volunteers. Plus, there’s another bunch of small logistics stuff because it’s out of date from not being used,” he said.
When asked about why Safe Ride is important, Gouvan acknowledged that “it’s a way to keep our community safe, for one. Especially with the way Vermont weather is, not so much dangerous, but you wouldn’t want to walk back in the snow versus not snow.”
The questions of whether or not students could help out as well as operating times for the program was also discussed.
“Yes! You can email me at my email if you want to lend a hand. We need cool people for sure. We are gonna do it Friday and Saturday from 10:00 [at night] to 2:00 in the morning. You’ve just got to call the safe ride phone number,” Gouvan said.
Students are excited about how this program will positively impact the campus, too.
“This school isn’t encouraging underage drinking; they’re just discouraging drunk driving. I think it’s great,” freshman Dillon Reitz said.