By Megan Loock
On Sept. 9, the Washington College SafeRide Organization sent out a campus-wide email announcing that they are open for applications.
Following the campus-wide shutdown the last year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SafeRide team “has been hard at work restarting and refurbishing the campus’ favorite safety initiative,” according to the email.
However, the current state of SafeRide’s budget remains unknown because of the pandemic “throwing a wrench in SafeRide’s functioning,” according to senior and Student Government Association President Katherine DeSantis.
Last spring, according to Executive Director of SafeRide and senior Joshua Gastineau, SafeRide experienced trouble hiring students for executive positions — only one application was received, leaving Gastineau to do much of the hiring process in August.
“It’s been a lot of work getting everything back up and running,” he said.“There are a plethora of moving parts within an organization that you must answer before you affirm that something is going to happen.”
Currently, there are 30 available Driver positions for SafeRide on JobX, and it is unknown if these positions will be filled quickly with the current labor shortage.
An email was sent out to the campus on Aug. 30th from the Assistant Director of Dining Services Kayla Young that Washington College, due to their own labor shortage, will be modifying their hours of operation for the Dining Hall, as well as Java George and Martha’s Kitchen.
To circumvent this issue, SafeRide will be offering a driving position to previous SafeRide drivers, waiving the interview process. Students will be required to submit an application via JobX and attend mandated training for all SafeRide drivers, including those related to Title IX and Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Another session will regard Campus Security Authority training — similar to what WC Resident Assistants undergo to know when to report crimes, according to Gastineau.
Drivers will also be required to undergo a driving test to ensure that students know how to operate the vans.
These trainings, according to Gastineau, are meant to equip drivers to actively support students through anything that happens in the van.
SafeRide will now operate on weekends from 7 p.m. to 11p.m., with an additional shift from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift.
“I ask students to be patient with other students who are running these organizations,” Gastineau said. “We’re doing our best to get stuff out there. I am a student too, and I want this initiative to come out, but I [also] want it to be good.”
Photo by Izze Rios