When Michael Hathaway attended his freshman orientation session in 2010, Student Government (SG) had a table with a survey asking questions to gauge interest of those looking to get involved.
One question, relating to SAFE Team, the agency that provides late night transportation for on-campus pedestrians, asked “Do you like driving golf carts?”
“Who doesn’t like driving golf carts?” Hathaway said he remembered thinking.
He joined SAFE Team when he enrolled that fall, and at the SG meeting on Tuesday, Hathaway, now a senior majoring in public health, was confirmed as director of SAFE Team.
As director, he will oversee all SAFE Team operations on the USF campus.
Hathaway said he plans to work closely with SG to improve students’ awareness of SAFE Team services.
“SAFE Team is a well-oiled machine that just needs a few tweaks,” Hathaway said. “What I think we really need is advertising, and we hope SG will help put us out there.”
He said he particularly hopes to get the word out to students about the Sober Ride Service that SAFE Team has been offering through Peppin Distributing Inc.
Hathaway said on busy nights, the sober ride service typically gets about six calls from students to be picked up from bars in the Hillsborough County area, but he feels the number of students who could actually be using the service is much greater.
“I think this is a service that most students, even third or fourth year students, don’t really know about,” Hathaway said. “Most
students don’t know that from 6:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. they can call the SAFE Team number from any alcohol-serving establishment and that we can connect them with a cab to get them home safely, free of charge. Hopefully that will change.”
Working with student body Vice President Scott Sandoval, Hathaway said he also hopes to update the SAFE Team web page to make it iPhone-compatible.
“Basically, there will be a button on the web page, and when someone clicks on it from their iPhone, it will automatically start calling SAFE Team,” Hathaway said.
Univesity Police’s captain Mike Klingebiel, the UP supervisor for SAFE Team, said he has worked with Hathaway over the last three years and that he believes Hathaway has good plans for the future of SAFE Team.
“I am confident Michael is the right man for the job and will do big things as director,” Klingebiel said.
Hathaway will act as the liaison between SAFE Team and SG and will be in charge of preparing the budget for the program. The agency was allocated $447,291 in Activity and Services fees for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
He said after this fiscal year, he plans to try and convince SG to give SAFE Team new golf carts to replace the out-of-date models they currently have, which Hathaway said frequently break down.
Hathaway said he ultimately hopes to change the way USF student’s view SAFE Team.
“Most people think SAFE Team is a taxi service, but we do so much more,” Hathaway said. “Our main goal is always to keep campus safe and students safe.”
— Additional reporting by Elizabeth Engasser