Two weeks ago, after a spike in armed robberies around campus, McKenna Sheridan started working on implementing a rideshare system for her sorority to make sure that no girl walks home by herself at night.
The rideshare system is named Alpha Chi Uber, although this may change depending on whether or not they receive copyright usage from Uber.
Sheridan, the vice president for AXΩ’s risk management, said that they “needed something to happen,” after the recent increase in incidents around campus.
“If anyone needs anything, they’re there for you,” said Kourtynie Farasyn, a freshman member of AXΩ.
The day after one of AXΩ’s members said she was attacked, Sheridan started the process of building a rideshare system for the sorority. Sheridan keeps a running spreadsheet of drivers who volunteer for certain hours each day.
The rideshare system officially operates Thursday, Friday and Saturday, during whatever hours drivers volunteer for, and is open to any AXΩ member.
Sheridan created a closed Facebook page where drivers post their hours each night and girls can ask for rides. Recently, drivers started volunteering on nights during the week, and not just the official operational nights.
“Some drivers will stick to certain hours and say they’re going to be done at 1 a.m., while other drivers know that they’re going to be pulling all-nighters,” Sheridan said.
According to Farasyn, there’s a google document for every week to sign up as a volunteer driver. For just signing up with their phone number as an emergency contact, girls can earn one hour of community service, even if they end up not driving anyone.
March 8 started the first test week for Alpha Chi Uber, where 30-40 rides were given by 15 volunteer drivers, according to Sheridan.
Because it was coming up on dead week when the program started, Sheridan expects numbers to go up once spring term starts.
“One of the important parts of this system is educating [the] girls that it’s not safe to walk home alone,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan started creating “Alpha Chi Uber Kits,” for the volunteer drivers. These are small baskets for drivers to take with them when they start their night.
Kits include water bottles, gum, fruit snacks, candy, wet wipes and saltines. Drivers are given these kits to make the riders’ time more enjoyable.
This term, the drivers are paying out of pocket for gas, but Sheridan says that next term she will start doing a raffle every week for one or two drivers to win a gas gift card.
After the test weekend, Sheridan posted a survey on the Facebook page asking the girls if they felt that the rideshare system made a difference in their safety that weekend.
“100 percent of the girls that replied felt it made a difference,” Sheridan said.
“I do believe that it has increased our safety because people post on our page all the time about being able to drive or needing a ride,” Farasyn said. “That’s why it works so well.”