Safe Ride to provide free condoms to passengers next semester
Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat
Darian Gravestock, sophomore receives a ride from an ASUA Safe Ride van Monday. Gravestock is an early childhood education major.
Two student-run organizations have teamed up to provide condoms for Safe Ride passengers upon request.
“Ride Safe” is a new incentive that will premiere next semester in all Safe Ride vehicles. The directors of Safe Ride and the Student Health Advocacy Committee are currently promoting a new movement to equip Safe Ride cars with condoms for UA students.
After the success last year from providing condoms in residence halls, this initiative was put in motion by Aaron Brussels, a pre-physiology sophomore and the executive board member on the pandemic and epidemic prevention team for SHAC.
“I remember last year … everybody was using Safe Ride to go to parties on weeknights,” Brussels said. “I figured that would be a prime opportunity and a prime target audience to hit [students] with some messages about sexual health and provide free condoms to hopefully cut back on sexually transmitted diseases.”
The program will be facilitated by a recent donation of about 3,000 Trustex condoms that the committee received from Go Live, Inc. In the future, the initiative will be sustained by a percentage of SHAC’s $8,000 budget. The condoms offered in dorms were not very sustainable or affordable for the department because students took too many of them. Brussels said SHAC is hoping this new approach will be successful as well as affordable.
Dylan Schoenbaum, a senior studying English, said the initiative could be helpful.
“So many kids ride Safe Ride,” Schoenbaum said. “Depending on the situation and when they take it, it’s usually at night, so I think this [could] help.”
The committee is currently setting up a trial and working on the marketing and promotion for Ride Safe in order to have it up and running by the end of the semester, according to Brussels.
“Now that we have that worked out, we just need to get our marketing game on and give it a shot,” Brussels said. “For the trial, we are going to put [condoms] in a couple cars and maybe do a few in-car advertisements, just for students to know that it’s there to access. We might also print up some feedback cards for the initiative.”
Adam Klever, the administrative director of Safe Ride and a senior studying chemistry and Spanish, said Safe Ride’s biggest concern is how they will handle complaints from parents.
“We are currently working on a script in case that happens,” Klever said. “We also want our drivers to know what to say to the passengers when they ask for a condom. We want it to be comfortable and not awkward.”
The Safe Ride drivers will limit passengers to two condoms each in order to keep the incentive sustainable. When the condoms were offered in dorms, students would come back to the front desk for condoms over and over again — taking condoms that were often never used, according to Brussels.
“Being on a college campus, we are not blind to the fact that students are going to be sexually active; we are young adults,” Brussels said. “We want to provide every opportunity possible for students to protect themselves from the threats that are out there. We are not promoting anything besides safety.”
- Follow Emily Bregger @ebregger_news