The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

250,000 safe rides

Photo by Photo by: Jena Floyd

To CARPOOL, each ride given is a potential life saved, and this past Wednesday the organization celebrated its 250,000 safe-rides milestone. Aiming to raise awareness about the group and encourage students to join, CARPOOL handed out free cake and prizes in Rudder Plaza to mark the occasion. 
The 16-year journey to 250,000 rides began in 1997 when CARPOOL Founder Jeff Schiefelbein received a DWI and was serving 18 months of probation. During probation, Schiefelbein attended a Mother’s Against Drunk Driving Impact panel where he was inspired to create a program that would keep drunk drivers off the road. With the help of other students, Schiefelbein built the program from the ground up in eight months. CARPOOL ran for the first time in September of 1999, and gave 36 rides on its opening night. 
Wednesday’s celebration intended to advertise CARPOOL to the community and remind the public that it is a service for anyone in need of a ride in the Bryan-College Station city limits, said Alexandra Perez, biomedical science senior and CARPOOL public relations director.
“We want to do a huge push for people to come apply to save lives and help out the community,” Perez said. “We also want to make it more aware to people that anyone within the Bryan-College Station community can take us. You don’t have to be intoxicated to use CARPOOL.”
Officers from the College Station Police Department joined the celebration and talked to students about the dangers of drunk driving. 
“We have an incredible working relationship with the CSPD and also UPD,” Perez said. “We both want to try and work together to end drunk driving in the Bryan-College Station community.”
Biology senior and CARPOOL Internal Co-chair Michael Junior said he is excited about what an accomplishment it is to reach 250,000 rides, and to have potentially saved students’ lives.
“I think this has been really beneficial as far as motivation-wise for our members. I think it’s really great to be a part of something that is bigger than yourself,” Junior said. “Just to know that when we say we have given 250,000 safe rides home — that’s potentially 250,000 saved lives.”
This year CARPOOL has experienced a shortage in members and hopes to raise its head count from the current 170 members to its usual 250-260. Applications are currently open, and will close Sunday at 11:59 p.m.  Epidemiology graduate student and CARPOOL Director of Regulations Edward Davila said the organization needs all the help it can get.
“I know the most visible part about CARPOOL is the driving aspect, but it’s not the only thing a member can do,” Davila said. “We also have the Northgate station right behind the Dixie Chicken, where you can get a ride directly off of Northgate. We also have people in the office answering phones because that is the primary method of communication with patrons.”
Biomedical sciences senior and CARPOOL Event Coordinator Danielle Davenport said the organization’s members all carry a strong sense of compassion for fellow Aggies. 
“We all have a passion for this organization. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it,” Davenport said. “We love the opportunity to save lives and give back to our Aggie family.”
History senior and CARPOOL Director of Finance Jordan Russell said CARPOOL has played a huge role in keeping members of the Aggie family safe.
“When I think of all the rides that we’ve given, I look at all those people as brothers and sisters, because I really buy into the idea of the Aggie family,” Russell said. “We’re doing this to help our family get home, no matter why they need a way to get home.”

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