By Anthony D. Ávila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Students who find themselves too intoxicated to drive may find a free ride home if a proposed designated driving program is approved as a program for next semester.
Four UA students, including Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senators Erin Hertzog and Ashley Eden, gave a presentation on Cats RIDDE yesterday to Melissa Vito, dean of students, who said she was initially supportive.
Vito said she was impressed with Cats RIDDE, an acronym for "Cats Realizing the Importance of a Designated Driving Escort," but wanted to verify information about liability and potential risks and make sure Saundra Taylor, senior vice president for Campus Life, was aware of it before approving the program.
"My sense is that if the risk and liability issues are dealt with and there is a network of support for it on the university, then I think it can go forward," Vito said.
When we say it's free for students, we mean free.|
- Jeremy Sasser chairman of Cats RIDDE operations
The presentation on Cats RIDDE was one of the final steps to implement the program and Hertzog said it went "amazingly."
Eden and Hertzog have been collaborating with groups on campus including Risk Management and the Residence Hall Association since the end of last year to bring the program to the UA, Hertzog said.
The founder of Cats RIDDE, Jason Cobb, helped give the presentation with Jeremy Sasser, chairman of Cats RIDDE operations.
Cobb said he and Sasser began researching for the idea three years ago by looking at Texas A&M's Carpool, the first designated driving service at a university.
"What we're really trying to do with the program is save lives," said Cobb, a UA medical student.
Cats RIDDE is in negotiations to obtain donated cars from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a car rental service that helps universities with similar programs, but no contract has been signed, Cobb said.
Cobb said Cats RIDDE is completely self-supported through private and corporate donors, such as the Finley Distributions, the distributor of Coors Brewery, and does not use tuition funds or fees.
"When we say it's free for students, we mean free," said Sasser, a physiological sciences senior.
If Cats RIDDE is approved as a program by the end this month, drivers will be recruited and interviewed in April, Hertzog said.
There should also be a Web site up by April with more information, Hertzog said.
Sasser said if approved, Cats RIDDE headquarters will be in an apartment, which will either be rented or donated.
Sasser said the program will function like a club, in which members have a lot of fun while working but will still take their jobs seriously.
"During the week, drivers will get together and have fun," Sasser said. "But on the weekend, it's business."