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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Anonymous, safe rides for Aggies in need

Carpool
Photo by Rachael Saunders
Carpool

Carpool, College Station’s student-run and non-judgmental free ride service, has provided

250,270 rides as of January 24 and will resume operations in the fall.

Carpool originated in 1997 after Jeff Schiefelbein, class of 2000, received a DWI in College Station. Schiefelbein decided he would create a program that would prevent other students from making the same mistake he did.

“When I was 19 at Texas A&M I got arrested for driving while intoxicated. I was guilty of it and by the grace of God I wasn’t hurt, or worse, hurt anybody else or killed anybody,” Schiefelbein said. “One of the things I got to attend is a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel… I started thinking, ‘What is the difference between me and anybody else who had ever been involved in a drunk driving incident?’”

Schiefelbein said after the panel he was determined to start the best designated driver program in the country.

“I realized that I needed to do something so that people like me would have an option or at least be encouraged not to make a stupid mistake,” Schiefelbein said. “It was an inspired moment.”

After months of planning, Carpool launched on September 16, 1999 and has been running successfully ever since.

Suzanne Chambers, archeological anthropology senior and Director of Public Relations for Carpool said the main goal and mission is to provide reliable travel for College Station residents.

“We strive to facilitate a safe and reliable commuting environment in the Bryan-College Station area by providing free, non-judgmental rides home to patrons whether they are intoxicated or just rendered incapable of transportation,” Chambers said.

Chambers said since Carpool members work every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. during the fall and spring semesters they have to be passionate about their jobs and helping the community.

“You definitely have to have the drive to serve because we do volunteer,” Chambers said. “We’re not paid, it’s entirely student run and we stay up all night driving people home.”

Chambers said students should not feel wary about using carpool because of the organization’s confidentiality.

“We are confidential. No matter what happens, we don’t ID you and we don’t check to make sure you are of age if you’re drinking,” Chambers said. “We aren’t a law entity so we aren’t going to turn you over to the police.”

Elizabeth Barberena, community health junior and Deputy Director of Public Relations for Carpool, agreed with Chambers and said the aspect she enjoys most about Carpool is the impact the organization has on the community.

“The most rewarding part is knowing that there have been so many lives saved,” Barberena said. “In a way it sounds weird because you don’t leave a carpool night thinking, ‘Oh I saved a life,’ but then you look at people who are like, ‘Oh I took Carpool, and you really helped me out,’ and realize you are doing something good for the community.”

Information on Carpool can be found on www.carpool.tamu.edu or at their booth at the Memorial Student Center open house.

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