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Ride-share program now available for UWRF students

March 12, 2009

Students may walk to class, to the University Center for a bite to eat and possibly to the Karges Center for an evening basketball game. Monday through Friday, students spend their hours slipping and sliding from point A to point B, but the weekend is here and it is time to go home. Students pack their car full with loads of books and laundry and hit the road, yet they are left with four empty seats and no one to sing background vocals to Beyonce. Times have changed, gas prices have increased and carpooling is in.

To help UWRF students, the Student Senate is currently promoting ZimRide, an application on Facebook that matches willing drivers with car-less students traveling to similar areas.

According to the ZimRide Web site, ZimRide is the leading provider of online social rideshare and carpool matching systems in North America. Over 300,000 people are currently using ZimRide from all areas in North America.

ZimRide was recently linked to the University Center Fan Page on Facebook to introduce the well-known program to UWRF students.

It’s a good way for students to save money and gas and it helps out those of us without cars,” Joe Hager, student, UC building manager and creator of the UC Facebook fan page, said.

According to Dustin Pfundheller, student and financial director of the Student Senate, ZimRide was also recently brought to the attention of UWRF students because of new concerns and issues.

“A lot of residents came to me complaining that they didn’t have rides,” Pfundheller said.

According to Phundheller, ZimRide has been available for students on Facebook for approximately one year, but the idea to advertise and inform the student body was developed at the end of the fall semester.

“We will have table tents in the University Center since a lot of people eat there,” Pfundheller said. “We will also have posters in the residence halls.”

Students can also find information about ZimRide online.

“We added a link onto the [University Center Facebook] fan page to try to kick start interest in it, making it safer and more legit,” Hager said.

Before ZimRide was introduced to UWRF, students resorted to alternative methods.

UWRF Ride Board is a current Facebook group open to UWRF students that allows students who find it difficult to find rides, as well as students who have open seats, to communicate through wall postings.

“I had created the group because I was having a hard time finding people to take me home on weekends,” Holly Heffernon, student at UW-Green Bay and creator of UWRF Ride Board, said. “I decided to create a group on Facebook to hopefully help others that were facing the same situation.”

ZimRide and UWRF Ride Board are both available for students, yet ZimRide offers students to communicate within other schools outside the River Falls area.

“One big difference is ZimRide does it for you, students will find. It is much more effective,” Pfundheller said. “It is also really beneficial because it involves other people at other campuses.”

A UWRF student also sees the great possibilities of ZimRide.

“I think that it would be very beneficial. I know even with the [UWRF Ride Board] group, I don’t always find someone who needs a ride home,” Danielle Detert, student and group member of UWRF Ride Board Facebook group, said. “But with an application for it, I think more people would know about it and it would help more people carpool.”

In addition to UWRF, other Wisconsin Schools have solved the issue concerning students inability to get a ride home safe.

According to UW-Stevens Point’s newspaper, The Pointer, UWSP students have created a Facebook ride share group with over 800 members and it is still growing.

According to the UW-Eau Claire Web site, UWEC has incorporated the online ride board for their students as well. The online ride board was first open to students in 2002.

Other campuses within larger populated towns have chosen to use alternative methods.

According to the UW-La Crosse Web site, UWL has incorporated a busing program that allows students to ride local buses free of charge. The University of Minnesota and UW-Madison also have bus systems that allow students to travel home safely.

Whether riding a bus or carpooling with a student, the concern for students’ safety is an issue. At the Feb. 17 Student Senate meeting, students riding with strangers was discussed and the opinions varied.

“Students are adults and if they feel safe, they may use it. It is there for them,” Pfundheller said. “There is going to be a risk with anything you do; there is always a risk.”