Don’t let one mistake ruin RamRide for you

Anna MitchellIn a turn of events that seem to come straight out of a dark comedy, last week a RamRide volunteer was arrested for operating a RamRide vehicle while intoxicated.

RamRide, a program brought to the Colorado State community by ASCSU, provides judgment-free rides for students to make it home safely on weekends. Safely is key here — the program was in part designed to help combat the spike in intoxicated driving that accompanies a college campus.

I need not say how disappointing it is that anyone could jeopardize the safety of those around them, especially while volunteering for such a program.

Karl La Borde, the freshman who was arrested for being high while driving, has come out and spoken about his actions in the incident. In an interview with the Collegian, he has apologized and spoken out against smoking marijuana while operating a vehicle.

Call me an idealist, but I believe that when he says he is remorseful and reconsidering how he is living his life, he means it.

The damage has been done, and his own reputation is now forever at risk of being tarnished by his choices.

Not only that, but RamRide’s reputation seems to have taken a blow as well.

I am not questioning why that is; I get it. If a person does something while representing a larger group or program, that group or program will be affected (good or bad). It’s the same way with any company, affiliation, or association. It makes sense. I understand why someone would hesitate to doubt RamRide after such an incident.

But I would like to add to the voices encouraging the community to not judge RamRide too harshly because of the actions of one volunteer.

I can say from both personal experiences and the stories I have heard other people tell that RamRide is an incredible program that cares first and foremost about the safety of students at CSU. Look at the volunteer process, for instance.

In order to volunteer you must fill out an application, make copies of various ID’s and insurances, and sign papers. They take all the volunteers into a room where they show a video that discusses what they must do and what they must not do while working. They discuss and reinforce the protocol for emergency and non-emergency situations alike.

ASCSU doesn’t just let someone walk into the RamRide office and hand them a pair of keys. There’s a process designed to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Short of installing tracking devices and cameras, RamRide could not have done anything to prevent what happened last week. This was an isolated incident that is a result of one person making a very stupid and very dangerous choice, and not the result of a bad or dangerous program.

Not only am I encouraging you to still put your trust in the quality of the RamRide program, I encourage you to volunteer with them. I’ve done it a handful of times, and it’s an incredible experience. Program volunteers get to meet incredible people, boost their resumes, and get to experience the great warm feelings that come from knowing they have contributed to bettering the CSU and Fort Collins community by providing a safe way to get home.

Not to mention, ASCSU feeds dinner to the volunteers and you finish the evening with an assortment of great stories to share. Volunteering with RamRide is just fun.

And don’t be afraid to use RamRide, either. When they say the rides are “judgment-free,” they mean that. No one will be tracking your student ID to find out if you were getting a ride, or getting upset at you if you are using it because you are too drunk to drive or just don’t want to lug all your groceries back to your apartment after dark. Maybe you were at a party that went awry, or maybe you don’t want to walk home in the cold.

RamRide doesn’t care, they just want create a safe community for students.

That has and continues to be their primary goal as an organization. Don’t let one person’s mistake allow you to doubt that.