By Emma Campbell

Elm Staff Writer

As a follow-up to an Opinion article from March 28 discussing rumors of Safe Ride budget cuts, it is important to note that the Washington College Student Government Association is no longer affiliated with Safe Ride. An earlier article claimed that the SGA was in control of the Safe Ride budget when funding is actually allocated from the Student Activities Fee. Additionally, Safe Ride is not a service reserved for intoxicated students — rather, it was established to shuttle students safely from Chestertown to campus.

Safe Ride is an organization that requires a large budget. It was restricted to receiving funding allocated from the Student Activities Fee this year, and was reportedly given a smaller budget than what they had previously been given. Recently, the WC Advancement Office worked with Safe Ride to make them eligible for donations.

“When we could not make any more cuts and we still needed more funding we turned to SGA, who worked closely with us to find a solution and as a result has provided us with extra funding both this semester and last semester,” Jennifer Walls, WC senior and executive director of Safe Ride, said.

Currently, the Safe Ride budget is large enough to cover all necessary costs for next year’s services. However, the organization’s executives are encouraging donations in the hopes of making improvements.

“With donations we could put more funding toward saving for long term goals that could improve Safe Ride, such as a fourth van that could run on weekends, updating our current phone plan, or looking into creating a Safe Ride app,” Walls said.

Safe Ride is one of campus’s most valued student-run programs and deserves recognition for the good that it does. Yet, it is unable to meet certain standards due to little funding from the Student Activities Fee, which is a program that is meant to exclusively supply student organizations, like Safe Ride, with appropriate backing.

“The student activities fee is a fee that all students pay in addition to their tuition. The money raised from the fee is then allocated by the administration to a variety of organizations such as the SGA, SEB, The Elm, and Safe Ride,” said Nicholas Gottemoller, president of SGA. “This is something that we at the SGA view as very problematic, seeing as many in the student body have come to rely on the service that it provides.”

The Student Activities Fee has gone up in recent years, while the percentage of money that goes to programs like Safe Ride has remained the same. The only solution to Safe Ride’s current budgetary problems would be if the Student Activities Fee adjusted itself to become proportionate with the needs of student programs.

“Upon meeting with Safe Ride’s leadership, the SGA decided to give Safe Ride $3,100 out of its assets keep it running through the end of the semester.  The SGA will always be here to support the work that Safe Ride does and hopes that in the future they can be given an allocation from the student activities fee large enough to fund them for the whole year,” Gottemoller said.

The Elm

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