Safe Ride is back but needs riders

Safe Ride is back in action but may be having an identity problem. 

Vermont State University Castleton has been transforming its student safety protocols by reintroducing Safe Ride, a ride service provided to ensure students have a safe ride home from parties on the weekends. 

“I believe our current operations prioritize safety and efficiency, aiming to ensure both passengers and staff have a positive experience,” Safe Ride driver Caezar Williams said.

Williams talked about how the safety of the students is important and that Safe Ride confidently provides this.

“It’s been a work in progress for two years and this year we were finally able to bring it back,” Student Government Association President Perry Ragouzis said.

Safe Ride has been around for a long time, however, was discontinued temporarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We are looking to start back up after break,” said Kayon Morgan, NAACP President and SGA delegate working on Safe Ride.

The SGA has been striving to improve the once popular service for three years now. 

“We are in the process of rebuilding,” said Ragouzis. “Something we are trying to workshop. Fit into a new era of Castleton history… fitting into our new student body.”

Ragouzis has been a part of the rebuilding process and continues to find ways to provide student support services. Finding a way for Safe Ride to fit into the culture again is Ragouzis’ goal.

“The weekend before graduation, the Safe Ride driver was the president of the university,” Ragouzis said of former President Dave Wolk. “That used to be a really fun component of our campus history and campus culture.”

The tradition was integrated within the student community in the past. The students and faculty found a connection between party and school culture. There, however, has been a disconnection from the student body in recent years.

“Safe Ride is experiencing low usage rates, so it’s crucial to address the issue,” Williams said. “From my perspective, it seems that one of the main reasons for low usage could be a lack of awareness about Safe Ride and its services.”

Safe Ride has had trouble reaching out to most students in recent years. 

“I’ve never even heard of Safe Ride before,” said Charlie McMahon, a VTSU Castleton sophomore, supporting Williams’ assertion.

Many students across the university also said they have never heard of the Safe Ride program before.

“Every time we are up and running, we will send emails the night of or morning of,” said Morgan in response.

Email is the main type of communication between the program and students. However, students’ emails are overwhelmed throughout the day leading to this announcement perhaps being buried within the accumulation. 

“I wanted to do a project where we got a message board,” Morgan said. “I’m going to put it in front of Huden.”

This message board can bring a larger awareness to the program and potentially increase the use of Safe Ride, she said. 

“Other possible factors could be misconceptions or concerns about the safety or reliability of the service that need to be addressed,” said Williams.

Some students are skeptical of the program, but SGA leaders say they shouldn’t be. 

“We don’t even have a procedure for Safe Rides to report students. It’s all anonymous,” said Ragouzis. 

Safe Ride is a completely anonymous service provided by the SGA and driven by other students. However, students cannot use this service to leave campus, they may only return to campus through Safe Ride.

And students should not have concerns about the drivers because all are required to pass the fleet license test. The SGA office sifts through applicants and not only chooses drivers who meet the requirements but bases it on their personality too. 

VTSU students can access this service Friday and Saturday’s 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Safe Ride phone number is 802-712-4214 to access this service. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Time for U.S. to educate and work together
Next post The P.E. class leaving students emotional