Check out this article written about Designated Dawgs hosting the Safe Ride Program Conference from the Red & Black newspaper:
Safe ride conference brings new possibilities for Designated Dawgs | Stephen Mays | 2/2/2013
The annual Safe Ride Program United Conference will be hosted by Designated Dawgs in Athens Feb. 1 to Feb. 3, 2013, according to a University of Georgia press release.
Designated Dawgs is the UGA student organization dedicated to giving students and members of the Athens community a safe, free drive home without judgment.
SRPU serves as a centralized union for safe ride programs at different universities across the country, giving those groups a support system and information source.
The conference itself will be comprised of representatives from approximately 10 universities, with three to four student representatives from each university.
“It’s a great way for us to see different membership structures,” said Patrick Klibanoff, executive director of Designated Dawgs.
Klibanoff also said seeing the different ways the other organizations handle the logistics of a safe ride program is extremely helpful.
Caring Aggies R Protecting Over Our Lives, Texas A&M University’s safe ride program, will be one group the Designated Dawgs team can take notes from at the conference.
CARPOOL proudly calls itself the first student run safe ride program in the country, said Colby Jackson, director of expansion for CARPOOL.
Founded in 1999, CARPOOL has safely taken over 200,000 students as of the spring 2012 semester with its 300 members that cycle duty throughout their Thursday to Saturday weekends.
“One ride is one possible life saved,” said Jackson.
Along with its primary organization members, Designated Dawgs welcomes volunteers to assist in getting students home and provides insured cars to do so.
In order to drive a car ushering people home, a volunteer must be 21 years old. Those under 21 can be navigators who help the driver find the residences, allowing them to focus more on the road.
“Our main goal is to get people home,” said Klibanoff.
Some of the biggest challenges Designated Dawgs has faced, Klibanoff said, is building awareness amongst students, ensuring that students feel comfortable approaching the group for help and finding enough volunteers to get students home.
CARPOOL too faced problems spreading awareness in the beginning, but Jackson said minimizing the group’s legal risk was their top bump along the way.
With downtown Athens heavily populated by bars, one might think the volunteers of Designated Dawgs would have their hands full.
“Everyone was excited to get a free ride home and not have to walk in the cold,” said Megan Wood, a sophomore student who volunteered one night with Designated Dawgs during the fall 2012 semester.
Wood, who served as a navigator, said she and her driver took approximately 30 students home that night and all of them were appreciative and nice.