The new Knight Rides voucher program has been established this semester to provide students with a $5 discount on taxi services at any time during the year. The purpose of this program is to decrease the number of students driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and to provide students with a safe form of travel late at night. Knight Rides was created by the office of Alcohol and Other Drug Programs in collaboration with the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department and the Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse of Livingston County.
“While our incidence of students driving under the influence of alcohol is low, we were seeing more and more use of marijuana, and an increasing belief that it was OK to drive under the influence of marijuana,” AOD Programs Coordinator Sarah Covell said.
The program was established to prevent and to educate students on the possibilities of getting into an accident or harming another individual while being under the influence of not only alcohol, but also marijuana, Covell added.
The program is possible due to the William & Dorothy Smith Endowment fund, which was created in honor of the late Mary Judith Smith Keleman, a Geneseo student who was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1973. Her parents, including the late alumna Dorothy Nowak Smith ‘37 and the late New York State Senator William Smith, established the fund in her memory.
“Mary Judith’s parents established this endowment in memory of their daughter in the hopes that the money would be used to increase student awareness about alcohol abuse and education prevention about alcohol abuse,” Covell said.
The program is helpful on weekends when many college students go out to parties and oftentimes have to walk back home under the influence of alcohol or drugs or attempt to drive themselves back due to the cold weather, according to Covell and Resident Advisor for Wellness Sarah Simon.
“When I think about freezing thighs and when I think about being inebriated, this can really help a lot of people from avoiding situations that they don’t want to be involved in,” Simon said.
The service can be used throughout the year, according to Covell. In order to receive a $5 discount, students need to provide their college ID and a paper token. The tokens serve as voucher, and each token has a code on them that the driver can use. Tokens are available in Covell’s office as well as the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Student Conduct and Student Standards.
The program is still in its early stages of development. Covell hopes to expand the initiative by having each residence hall provide tokens to students.
Similarly, Simon hopes awareness for the program increases across the campus.
“Not only are we looking out for ourselves, but by participating in this program, we’re raising awareness that drunk driving never has to happen, and it does; drunk walking home never has to happen, and it does,” Simon said. “And they’re both dangerous. So this is a way to address drunk driving and drunk walking home.”