Student volunteers get new transportation choice


DePauw students looking to travel throughout Putnam County now have another option besides begging friends for a ride - and, that new service is free to students.
Community Ride, a free shuttle service to provide students with rides to community services opportunities in the Putnam County area, has been operating on campus since early September.
Gigi Jennewein, coordinator of community service and outreach, helped bring this service to campus after she recognized how many students wanted to do community service but did not have transportation.
"That was especially a problem with first-year students that I noticed last year and it was a problem with international students, as well," Jennewein said.
A number of organizations have already begun using Community Ride, including the Bonner Scholar program, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Civic Fellows. The service has taken students to locations such as the Greencastle Middle School and Cloverdale.
Program Assistant of the Bonner Scholar Program and DePauw Community Service, Chris Klinger, said that "it is essential and crucial for these students to get out into the community." She explains that the Bonner Scholars, for example, have service hours they must complete every single week - which was amlost impossible for the car-less.
A few years ago, students had the opportunity to rent vehicles from the Hartman Service Vehicles as long as they had a valid driver's license, Jennewein said. However, the changed policy a couple years ago to only allow students who are 21 years old or older to rent the vehicles. This new ruling prevents most underclassmen from renting.
Transportation Coordinator Elyssa DiRaffaele became especially interested in Community Ride because she understands how difficult it can be to not have a car on campus but want to participate in organizations' activities.
"I thought this was a really great way to promote more community service outside of campus," DiRaffaele said.
Jennewein and Klinger are optimistic that knowledge of the service is expanding across campus as more organizations and even greek houses are recognizing the service's usefulness.
"Students are really happy about it because it's getting them to where they want to be and providing all sorts of new opportunities," Klinger said.
The university-funded service currently runs Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
In order to use this program, students must email at least 48 hours before they need a ride to a service or academic-related opportunity.