Student Development announced last week that they were unveiling a “student ride board” just in time for the holiday travel season. While to some the board is an overdue addition, the board has raised questions about student safety and the danger of traveling with strangers. The ride board will serve as a place where students can post upcoming trips or requests for rides before breaks or weekends. The board is making its return to campus after a five-year absence, and will return to its previous location in the lower level of the student center (near the mailboxes).
According to John Duraj, dean of student affairs, the decision to bring back the board was a simple one.
“We found there was a lot of interest among students, and the parents association also expressed interest in setting up the board,” he said.
According to Duraj, the board will function in the same manner it did five years ago, but he thinks the new-found interest will have the board used more often. Student Senate asked to replace the board five years ago because they wanted to use the space being taken up by the largely-unused board for art.
Students generally seemed receptive to the idea to bring the ride board back.
Andrew Francis, ‘15, said, “It seems like a good idea; I’ll be sure to check it out.”
Brent Crawford, ’16, added, “I hope students will use the ride board. It is a good concept that most other campuses already have.” Crawford went on to say, “My freshman year, I hitched rides from many different people each break. So freshman in need of a ride home especially should be talking this up to get drivers to sign up as well. I’m only concerned people that can offer rides won’t be willing to go out of their way to become involved in this.”
Crawford noted that the program will be most beneficial to students from “far away lands” like his native Buffalo, New York.
In unveiling the program, Student Development looked to alert students about some of the safety concerns associated with the program, including in a campus-wide email the following disclaimer: “All participation in the Ride Board is purely voluntary. Wittenberg University does not vouch for anyone’s character or driving skills. Utilizing the Ride Board is at the risk of participants.”
Duraj said the notice was included, “to let students know they have to make sure they are getting rides with people they feel safe and comfortable.”
Safety did not appear to be a concern of Crawford who noted, “I’m not concerned about the safety of riding with strangers. Everyone involved will be a Witt student, and they will know exactly who you’re with and where you’re going.”
When asked how the ride board may evolve over time, Duraj expressed an interest in bring the board online, suggesting that if a student had the programming skills to build an online version, he would welcome their help moving forward.