Section: News

Rideshares to make getting off the Hill more convenient

Rideshares to make getting off the Hill more convenient

by Phoebe Carter

While life on the Hill offers its own secluded charm, desires to get off campus — ranging from the lighthearted wish to spend the day in Columbus to more serious necessities like getting to Urgent Care can be hard to satisfy.

But starting this week, two new student-run initiatives are looking to improve the availability of transportation options for students on weekends. The Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) is piloting a free shuttle service to Mount Vernon Urgent Care starting Sunday, and Kenyon Rideshare, a website designed by senior Environmental Studies students, will be running in time for students to find rides home for the summer.

Members of SHAC saw the need for an urgent health care option that would provide transport and care to students whenever they needed it. After multiple attempts to expand the Health Center’s hours failed, the group decided they could at least help bring students to the Urgent Care Center in Mount Vernon.

A survey conducted by SHAC garnered 200 participants and over 90 percent responded positively to the proposed shuttle service, according to co-president Daniel Akuma ’14. “Some students said they didn’t see why this service would be necessary,” Akuma said. “But more than half of us at Kenyon don’t have cars … and don’t want to have to call the EMS.”

To start, the service will run from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, but SHAC hopes to expand their weekend hours in the future. They also want to offer weekday services, since the Health Center closes at 4:00 p.m., and other health-care related transportation services such as to doctor’s appointments or pharmacies.

A limiting factor, however,  is the number of volunteer drivers and vehicles available. In order to be covered by the College, groups are required to use Kenyon vehicles. “Out of the goodness of his heart … [Manager of Business Services] Fred Linger gave us the mail van,” Akuma said. Linger also authorized the Office of Campus Safety to refill the tank before the weekend if necessary.

Akuma hopes that next year, once the College sees the importance of the service, the group will have access to more vehicles than the one-passenger mail van. He also hopes more students will take interest in the project and volunteer as drivers.

Also active in improving transportation options for the Kenyon community are Lena Shefelman ’14, Catherine Dwyer ’14 and Regan Fink ’14. As a part of their Environmental Studies senior seminar final project, the three students developed the idea of Kenyon Rideshare, a website on which members of the Kenyon community can find and offer rides.

“It’s basically a place to consolidate people who want to go places,” Dwyer said. For students looking for a ride to the airport or wanting to split gas money for a late-night burrito run, the website offers a place to post listings offering and seeking rides to and from Gambier.

It seems that the biggest hurdle the group now faces is getting the word out. When introduced to the idea, however, most students gave a positive response.

“I think it’s a very cool concept,” Claire Tomasi ’17 said. “A lot of people are already sort of doing that on the Kenyon Class of 2017 [Facebook] page, so I think it is a good way of organizing something that’s already happening.”


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