Campus: CSU, Chico -- September 1999

Anonymous Student Gift Restores Taxi Service to Combat Drunken Driving

A California State University, Chico student injured in a traffic accident has given $5,500 from her insurance settlement to restore Chico Safe Rides, a free taxi service discontinued due to lack of funding that helped prevent students from driving while intoxicated.

The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently made the gift to Shauna Quinn, director of CSU, Chico's Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center (CADEC).

"This student, who is not wealthy by any means, was willing to use this money to benefit the entire student body," said Quinn. "She could have used this money herself, but she said she wanted to do something to help keep other students safe. It brought tears to my eyes."

Quinn said that, while alcohol was not a factor in the accident the student was injured in, the student felt Chico Safe Rides could keep another student from having a traumatic experience like her own.

Quinn said the student had read in The Orion, CSU, Chico's student newspaper, that funding for Chico Safe Rides was cut this fall by Associated Students of CSU, Chico so the program was canceled. She approached Quinn, who had been quoted in the story, and asked what it cost to run the program for one semester; after Quinn told her $5,500, the student returned with a check for the amount.

Richard Elsom, president of Associated Students of CSU, Chico, said student leaders had grown reluctant to devote funds from student fees to Chico Safe Rides without other sources of support. He said the gift should mean that Associated Students will renew its funding and keep Chico Safe Rides going beyond the fall semester.

"Chico Safe Rides is a valuable program that deserves to grow and improve," Elsom said. "It's my opinion that it is of value to more than just the students of Chico State and therefore should not be funded solely by Associated Students."

Quinn said fund-raising had just begun this fall to aid Chico Safe Rides. She said Stash Distributing Inc. of Chico has recently pledged a $1,000 gift, and local bar and restaurant owners are going to be approached to support the program.

Chico Safe Rides, started in 1990, is coordinated by the Chico Safe Rides Club in cooperation with Yellow Cab Co. of Chico. Club members oversee a phone service where students can call for a special van operated by Yellow Cab. The van picks up CSU, Chico students, typically at a bar or nightclub, then takes them to their homes.

Chico Safe Rides is one of several CADEC programs designed to help students make smart choices and become educated about alcohol and drugs. Other programs include peer educator workshops, awareness campaigns and the Fun Without Alcohol Fair.

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