Safe ride organization GUARD Dogs could launch by October

Members of GUARD Dogs speak during a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The group could launch by this October. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Student safe ride organization GUARD Dogs’ Executive was approved by the Undergraduate Student Government Wednesday and may be launching as early as October 2015, president Timothy Lim said.

Lim said there was a strong chance that GUARD Dogs will be up and running well before its projected Spring 2015 launch date.

“I wouldn’t say it is impossible to start it earlier than anticipated,” Lim said. “We’re very optimistic.”

GUARD Dogs hosted its first official meeting before USG Senate and finalized logistical plans, outreach goals and funding allocations. 

Approximately $65,000 was reserved for GUARD Dogs from the USG budget, an increase from the $40,000 allocated before the organization was dissolved.

Grant Miner, GUARD Dogs' vice president of finance, said that the funds would go toward replacing outdated and broken computers, dispatch phones, global positioning systems and the rental of four or five vans.

New furniture needed to be purchased because the office GUARD Dogs is currently petitioning to use is smaller than its previous location, Lim said. Better fitting furniture is needed to best utilize storage space.

Old furniture and equipment is currently stored at UConn Central Stores warehouse and will be put up for surplus sale, Lim said.

If the space is unavailable, contingencies plans of including the use of the Student Organization Center were discussed at the meeting. Miner said that even though using the SOC is not ideal, GUARD Dogs is “committed to getting out there and helping the community,” even at the expense of some of comfort to its members.

GUARD Dogs plans to partner with the Office of Drugs and Alcohol, Off-Campus Student Services and ResLife for outreach, training and support, and officials have already committed to helping the program, Miner said.

He said ResLife in particular will be hosting lectures on GUARD Dogs in conjunction with residential events on campus safety and may be used as part of Resident Assistant training.
GUARD Dogs will also be surveying students on how they plan to use the program.

Questions about the service will be included in the Tier Three organization student survey. Proposed questions included nights students plan to go out, willingness to use the program and hours students plan to be out between.

Executives said that the answers will be used in organizing volunteers around the most accurate student schedule.

Lim said that the ultimate goal of the program is to become independent of USG and run as its own organization, but that is still several years off. The focus now is getting the program running effectively, he said.

“We are literally handling student lives here,” Lim said.


Nicholas Shigo is associate news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at nicholas.shigo@uconn.edu.