ASUA’s administrative vice president is working on getting Safe Ride drivers Safe Zone certified.
When Amanda Lester ran for administrative vice president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona in the spring, one of her platforms was to encourage ASUA members to get Safe Zone certified, which led to the idea of having Safe Ride drivers certified. If a Safe Ride driver is certified, they can display their plaque in the car to show that it is a designated Safe Zone, Lester said.
C. Michael Woodward, a graduate assistant for Ally Development with LGBTQ Affairs and coordinator of Safe Zone, said the goal of the training is to help LGBTQ students on campus feel welcome.
Woodward said in order to become certified, students can register online for workshops that are held each month.
In the first workshop option, participants learn about definitions and general knowledge regarding the LGBTQ community, according to Woodward. The second workshop consists of students applying practical scenarios of how they can be an ally to other students; this includes real-life scenarios based on situations, such as how to stop discrimination when it is happening in the moment, Woodward said.
Adam Klever, administrative director of Safe Ride, said it’s difficult to have every one of their Safe Ride drivers become Safe Zone certified because they can’t force them and because they have so many employees that are in and out every year.
While Safe Ride is not requiring all of its drivers to become certified, they can register for one or both of the workshops if they are interested, Klever said.
One way to implement the Safe Zone program effectively is to have a retreat, according to Klever. Making the actual Safe Ride program certified, Klever added, would make it more practical for the program to achieve that goal with its many drivers on staff.
Lester was Safe Zone certified last year and said her inspiration was to have student leaders identify with everyone and have the knowledge of Safe Zone and its uses.
“So many students use Safe Ride, and it is a free service and we do want everyone to use it,” Lester said. “It would be great, again, if they could use this and feel that they’re safe.”
Woodward said when he was an undergraduate, he felt Safe Zone was not very visible.
However, he added that he feels the university has come a long way.
“They have the right people with the right attitudes who think inclusively,” Woodward said. “Just the fact that you can come here and be out and it’s not an issue for most people — it’s just remarkable.”
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