Women’s Transit, needs volunteers to help achieve their goal of making campus safer.
The WSU service provides transportation at night and serves the entire city limits of Pullman. It runs Sunday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Three vehicles, two dispatchers and three drivers work at any given time during operating hours.
Kim Barrett, the program support supervisor for the Women’s Resource Center, says Women’s Transit provided 2,600 rides last semester. In addition, 184 volunteers logged 2,430 hours of work to provide the Pullman services.
Kayla Hopkins, a junior zoology major, said she decided to volunteer after using the service herself.
“I’ve only used Women’s Transit a couple of times but when I have they have been so helpful,” she said.
As a dispatcher, Hopkins has begun recognizing some of the frequent Women’s Transit users.
“It is really beneficial to a lot of people, some people use it every night to get home,” she said.
Women’s Transit users call dispatchers, give them their names and locations and wait to be picked up. Wait times vary by demand but usually fall between five and 45 minutes.
The service also offers a newer program, which they said is underused and can shorten the wait.
Cougar Campus Walking Service is designed to escort students home at night by walking them to their door. Despite its affiliation with the Women’s Resource Center, the walking service will escort men as well.
Walkers travel in pairs, and are marked by crimson and gray reflective vests. They walk students home anywhere on campus and within a limited area of Greek Row. The campus walkers are available every day from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.
“Sometimes Women’s Transit is so busy, and all cars will be out creating up to a 40-minute wait,” Barrett said. “I would like to see our walking service utilized more this semester.”
Jonathan Casebier, a junior biology major, is a volunteer with the Cougar Campus Walking Service. Though he served 22 hours last semester, Casebier said he never walked anyone home.
Like Barrett, Casebier said he hopes more people hear about the service and use it to get home safely.
Casebier’s girlfriend, Hopkins, encouraged him to volunteer. They each volunteer two hours per week.
Hopkins said she enjoys volunteering for Women’s Transit. She says volunteers must be willing to help others and patient.
“Sometimes it is difficult to understand people on the phone, so patience is necessary,” Hopkins said.
The programs are designed to protect students from sexual assault. Some students may choose not to use the service, and Barrett said it is important to be observant and aware of your surroundings, especially at night.
“Always use the buddy system,” Barrett said. “Walk with someone you know at all times who will walk you to and from your door.”
Women’s Transit and campus walking will begin operating Jan. 28. The Women’s Resource Center is currently recruiting volunteers to help meet the program demand.
If you are interested in volunteering, visit the Women’s Resource Center in Wilson 8.
Background checks and training are done for each volunteer prior to providing service.