Students from West Virginia University with a passion for campus safety have joined together to form a new mode of late-night, weekend transportation. A pilot launch of the program will occur Dec. 3-4.

Mountie Ride, a student-run nonprofit organization at WVU, is designed to facilitate a safe and reliable commuting environment in the Morgantown area. By providing free, non-judgmental rides home to students, the organization offers an alternative to driving under the influence or walking alone.

Three rented vehicles will run each night of operation, with two students acting as driver and co-pilot. There will always be one male and one female within each vehicle, and drivers must be 21 years of age.

Students requesting a ride this Friday or Saturday can look for Mountie Ride volunteers. The “eyes and eers” will be wearing neon yellow shirts on High Street from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. The volunteer will call the main line to get a ride for the student.

Cameron Taylor, founder of Mountie Ride and senior business management major from Morgantown, says that the idea for this program was brought up to him during his governorship in the WVU Student Government Association in 2009. The program has been in the planning stages since March.

“The students will be able to rely on their fellow Mountaineers that are working to ensure their safety,” Taylor said. “I’m very pleased with what this all has evolved into, and I look forward to seeing great things come out of this weekend and years to come.”

Taylor says that the cars will transport students to their homes only, and will not be used as a taxi service to take students to another bar or party.

“I’d say that most of Mountie Ride’s members have been affected in one way or another by car accidents caused from driving under the influence,” Taylor said. “I think once it gets started, residents of Morgantown will feel safer knowing there is a program put into place by students who have a passion to help one another.”

Megan Callaghan, a junior psychology and criminology major from Charleston, is in charge of funding for the program, and said the process has been financially difficult.

“It’s taken very long to get where we are right now,” Callaghan said. “The 501c3 was hard to get for the program since most students don’t normally apply for something like this.”

Missy Pforr, Mountie Ride advisor and coordinator of alcohol education for WELL WVU, and officers with the University Police Department will be present at the organization’s meeting on Nov. 30 to talk to future Mountie Ride drivers. They will teach the students about alcohol education and possible symptoms of alcohol poisoning to watch out for in passengers.

“I want students to make responsible choices, and I’m hoping that this program reduces DUI incidents,” Pforr said. “By getting drunk drivers off the roads of Morgantown, we can make this a safer place for students and residents alike. I want Mountie Ride to make a name for itself so students know that they can have a safe ride home from a bar downtown or from the library.”

Rashad Bates, a junior pre-sports management major from Vineland, N.J., says that Mountie Ride is intended to help any student, not just those who are intoxicated and therefore incapable of driving themselves.

“Simply put, we’re Mountaineers helping Mountaineers,” Bates said. “I am very excited about students having a safe, free ride home, even from the library or the Mountainlair late on the weekends.”

Volunteers are still needed for the program, and the organization is working with the WVU Center for Civic Engagement to recruit students needing community service hours.

The students plan on officially launching the program during the spring semester.

Once the program launches, there will be a main call line for students to request a ride in addition to the volunteers on High Street.

For more information on the Mountie Ride program, contact Pforr at 304-293-0576 or .



CONTACT: Missy Pforr, Mountie Ride