Giving UConn a Responsible Driver, or GUARD Dogs, a ride service that was offered to University of Connecticut undergraduates in the past, is getting ready to return to campus later this semester.
“GUARD Dogs is an Undergraduate Student Government (USG) program that seeks to provide free, friendly and safe sober rides to all UConn undergraduate students,” according to a GUARD Dogs fact sheet.
On Feb. 16, GUARD Dogs held an info session at the Student Organization Center in the student union, which was attended by 16 people, including the five executive officers. The session was held to gauge interest from people who are willing to volunteer for GUARD Dogs, GUARD Dogs Vice President for Membership Sarah Randall said.
The session covered topics like available positions, who can use GUARD Dogs and how long volunteers are allowed to work.
The positions that were talked about were those on the executive board, drivers who must be at least 21, ride-alongs who also have to be at least 21, dispatchers and night captains who make sure that each shift runs smoothly, according to the GUARD Dogs fact sheet.
The age for drivers and ride-alongs is 21 because the vehicles that will be used are rentals, Randall said. USG and the GUARD Dogs e-board are trying to get the age for drivers and ride-alongs dropped to 18, she said.
“Only UConn undergraduates will be able to call for a ride,” GUARD Dogs President Timothy Lim, said. “However, students will be able to bring up to four other people with them in the cars.”
Those who call for a ride will be required to show their student ID to the driver and fill out a form verifying that they are a UConn student either online or on the night of, Lim said.
For those who want to volunteer and be a member of GUARD Dogs, there will be a training session on Feb. 27, he said.
Volunteer shifts will be from 8pm to 2am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a 1-hour briefing before each shift, he said. However, volunteers only need to work three nights a semester and cannot work those three nights consecutively, Lim said.
Some student who attended the session, like eighth-semester senior pharmacy major Chelsea McDonnell, had known about GUARD Dogs in the past and supports the idea of its return.
“I knew about it and I think it’s a really good idea to bring it back,” McDonnell said. “I think it is a really good service seeing someone your age helping out others on campus.”
GUARD Dogs has not been in operation since its suspension in 2014 due to low membership, Lim said.
“Hopefully it [GUARD Dogs] will be up and running by late March, but we need volunteers to do this,” Lim said.