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DriveSafe sobers street
Caught on Campus
DriveSafe sobers street
By John Intini
No matter how drunk, members of McGill University's DriveSafe will let you in their vans as a passenger, that is.
DriveSafe, a student-initiated project, offers McGill students transportation to and from both parties and bars. The new program which accompanies WalkSafe, a program similar to Western's Foot Patrol, is an attempt to extend the scope of the school's safety services, program co-ordinator Anne Topolski said.
"The biggest gap with our WalkSafe service is on party nights. DriveSafe attempts to increase the reach of WalkSafe," Topolski said. "The response in the first couple of weeks has been incredible."
Students at McGill responded so favourably to the orientation week project, the university has decided to continue offering the service year-round, Topolski said. More than 1,200 students used the service over the first two weeks.
Groups are able to rent a maximum of six mini-vans with accompanying drivers, for about $200 per van per night. The vans accommodate 7 to 8 passengers each. Topolski said their goal is to offer the service free with the help of sponsors.
She added the majority of the funding has been provided by Molson Breweries, who donated $1,500 into the program thus far. Molson spokesperson Jason Tremellan said the company is using the program as a way of promoting responsible drinking.
"We've been one of the university's main sponsors for a number of years," Tremellen said. "[DriveSafe] has been something we've been pursuing for some time now. Safe drinking is in everybody's interest."
According to David Crombie, co-ordinator of the Western Foot Patrol, the nature of McGill's campus along with a difference in the program's philosophies explains why Western could not initiate a similar program.
"Since we are limited to the jurisdiction of the campus police our philosophy is to help as many people on campus as possible," Crombie said. "Our main focus is helping students on campus, mainly the ones in residence."
Topolski said the small group of organizers have set a short-term goal of establishing the project at McGill. Their long term objective is to promote the program at universities across the country.