A new initiative may soon drive up to campus.
And it should have an easier time parking.
Student Government (SG), in partnership with Student Health Services (SHS) and the University Emergency Medical Student Association (UEMSA), has recently allocated $74,300 to provide USF with an emergency transport vehicle.
This money was funded from the unallocated cash fund generated by Activity & Service (A&S) fees, which is a fee included in every student’s tuition charges.
In addition to this vehicle, individuals in UEMSA will compose the Medical Response Unit (MRU) which is the entity that will actually assist students in these possible emergency transportations. According to Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine, the members of this future unit will be volunteers. The MRU will be responsible for stocking the vehicle and scheduling the volunteers for shifts.
The vehicle will eventually have an assigned parking space once it’s determined where the MRU will be stationed.
“It’s going to be staffed with fully trained and prepared individuals, all certified, all approved,” Kheireddine said. “USF Health will do the background checks … and make sure that they’re suitable to work the field.”
Kheireddine said the purpose of this vehicle will be to transport students to SHS who may be incapable of walking due to sickness or injury. This service is planned to be free of charge to students.
“For example, if you wake up and you’re extremely sick and can barely get out of bed and you’re in Cypress or something,” Kheireddine said. “That would be a case where the emergency transport vehicle could come, could pick you up and then take you to student health.”
However, SG, UEMSA and SHS are still working on signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which will allow for the purchase of this vehicle upon completion.
“Once that’s (MOU) finalized, and once it’s approved by Dean (of Student Affairs and Student Success Danielle) McDonald, and by legal council here at USF, then it’ll go into effect,” Kheireddine said. “We will officially purchase the vehicle through Student Business Services with the intent of rolling this project out within the fall.”
SG has made no formal attempts to survey the general student body about the program being funded, but Kheireddine said that he has reached out to some student organizations and their leaders and solicited their opinions. However, once the vehicle is up and running, Kheireddine said there will be more surveying done to determine how students are interacting with it.
“The conversation circulated to it being an idea that would not only just be a good service to offer, but is something that is so important, especially in this day and age, to ensure that we have access to something of this nature for our students,” Kheireddine said. “The goal was to, once we have the project in place and once it’s being rolled out, we want to survey students and see how they’re engaging with it.”
According to Kheireddine, the vehicle will possibly operate during a set time frame, during which the member of the MRU will be on call during their respective shifts. He said a possible time frame that has been considered is 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“There are plenty of students that, you never know what their economic status is, or what their insurance policy is … they’ll be able to utilize this service and they’ll be able to get a ride to health services where they can be treated,” Kheireddine said.
This is not the first initiative of its kind. Florida State University has an MRU which “functions as a basic life support and quick response unit,” according to its website. The University of Florida also has a similar program.
Specific details about different operating times, as well as exactly what number students will call to use this service have not been determined.
This service is not meant to replace a traditional ambulance, however, as it will only be associated with the USF campus and will not be capable of transporting students to nearby hospitals. According to Kheireddine, the goal is to eventually have this capability once the initiative starts on campus.
“Consider this program right now, where it’s at, it’s in its infancy,” Kheireddine said. “It’s kind of like a pilot. We’re giving it a try, we’re trying to see it on a much smaller scale. How can we support students and what areas are students engaging with this program, and in what capacity is the demand?”