The Safe Ride program that offered students at the University of Nebraska-Kearney a literal safe ride home has run out of money and is being suspended until further notice. The program offered free rides to students on campus during the overnight hours.
Wendy Schardt, UNK’s director of health services, says they evidently did too good of a job letting students know about the option.
“We sort of marketed the Safe Ride program more than it had been in the past, which is a good thing, we want students to be aware of it,” Schardt says, “but of course, the more students who are aware of it, the more quickly you run through the funds.”
The service had been offered on the Kearney campus for several years without interruption.
“Most students make very good decisions when it comes to being responsible,” Schardt says, “but we really want to be able to provide a program that just provides a back-up plan should someone’s options run out and it’s the middle of the night and they don’t really have any other option.”
The service was designed with the intent of providing a safe transportation option for students, but she says that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best option for every occasion.
“We don’t want this program to be the first choice for students because we know most students make wise decisions about drinking,” Schardt says. “We want this to be a sort of last resort because many students make prior arrangements and have designated drivers. On the occasion when their plan falls through or the designated driver decides to have one drink, they need to have a back-up plan.”
H & H Distributing, a beer distributor based in Grand Island, has funded the UNK Safe Ride program in the past for one-thousand dollars per semester.
Schardt says campus officials will carefully review all available options in order for the program to be reinstated as a long-term asset for the university.
By Brent Wiethorn, KKPR, Kearney