In an attempt to reach out to the UA student body, ASUA has launched a campaign to put senators in Safe Ride vehicles to probe for feedback. The Daily Wildcat sent reporter Shannon Maule along for a ride to get the story on this project.
Associated Students of the University of Arizona senators have for the first time stepped out of the office and into Safe Ride vehicles to get first-hand student opinions and suggestions for the future.
""The purpose for the senators to do ‘ride alongs' is to find out what the students at UA want from ASUA, what they know about us, educate them, invite them to come hang out with us, get feedback and understand what they feel is important,"" Senator Hillary Davidson said.
Davidson rode along with employees for the second time Tuesday night and asked students for feedback about campus events, clubs, and services.
""When we do ride-alongs we've had a really good turnout. There are students who are very informed and students who don't know anything about ASUA, so that is a great way for us to reach out and hope they spread the news,"" Davidson said.
During the ride-along, she met freshmen, sophomores, one senior and one graduate student.
""We drive all different types of people, and we definitely get some characters,"" said Bradford Zygmontowicz, business senior and assistant administrative director of Safe Ride.
Davidson rode along for an hour, during which time she encountered students going to a concert, to a friend's house, to the Integrated Learning Center, and returning home to their apartment or dorm.
As each student got in the van, Davidson introduced herself and made it clear that she wanted honest opinions, of which she got very little at the beginning of each ride.
Nutrition sophomore Sonja Cerviani said she didn't have any direct feedback about events on campus but spoke instead about Safe Ride, saying, ""I like it but sometimes it sucks, because it takes so long. But that is to be expected, and it's better than no ride at all.""
When asked what ASUA in an acronym for, many students responded, ""like the student government thing.""
ASUA senators are looking to gain feedback not only from students, but also from the Safe Ride employees, Davidson said. The biggest complaint of the drivers and directors is the lack of money, she said, adding that because Safe Ride is a part of ASUA, they are partially funded by the group but are often faced with needing to raise much of their budget themselves, Davidson said.
Safe Ride directors are currently looking for better ways to advertise to gain better fundraising. If more vehicles were purchased, students would not have to wait as long for rides and the organization would run more efficiently, Zygmontowicz said.
The ride along is part of an overall design to lend transparency to ASUA, Davidson said.
""We want to be out there and meet each student and hear what they want to say because we represent the whole student body,"" she said.