SURE Walk numbers increase, but it lacks the resources to handle it

Reagan Ritterbush

SURE Walk has quadrupled its number of fulfilled requests for rides over the past year, said Holden Hopkins, one of the SURE Walk directors.

According to SURE Walk data, in the fall of 2016, the organization fulfilled 3,279 requests, but reached 12,283 fulfilled requests in the spring of 2017. Hopkins, Plan II and business honors sophomore, said current data suggests SURE Walk will probably fulfill around 15,000 requests in the fall of 2018.

“This pattern is increasing still,” Hopkins said. “We get around 3,000 requests a month, but this number increases around the holidays and finals, so we are definitely reaching more students as the years go on.”

This increase has made SURE Walk’s limited amount of resources and funding apparent, Hopkins said. In order to keep up with the growing demand, SURE Walk is raising money to buy two additional golf carts.

“We want to be able to give as many rides as we want to and work as proficiently as possible,” Hopkins said. “We currently have three working golf carts, which makes it hard to fulfill all the needs of each student who turns in a request.”

The fundraiser, hosted on student crowdfunding website HornRaiser, has only raised a small portion of the $18,000 needed to buy the two golf carts, said Joel McNew, co-founder and vice president of SafeHorns, a parent organization designed to raise awareness about campus safety.

“I don’t understand how when an organization like SURE Walk has the numbers and data behind them to show that students need and want this service, why we can’t actually get anyone to help raise the money,” McNew said. “I’m not entirely sure what the organization is going to do without these two new golf carts.”

SURE Walk has never been directly funded by UT and relies mostly on money from UT Parking and Transportation services, McNew said.

Although UT does not currently directly fund the organization, SURE Walk is not allowed any corporate sponsorships, McNew said.

“The University doesn’t want the golf carts to have a corporation’s logo on them,” McNew said. “It’s disappointing that this increase in numbers hasn’t been a real eye opener for the University. If the University is not going to pay for it, then why not allow someone else to?”

Computer science senior Nirmal Mulji said SURE Walk should receive direct funding from UT.

“(SURE Walk) keeps their students safe on campus,” Mulji said. “I don’t see how they wouldn’t help out an organization that only intends to make students feel comfortable.”

Created in 1982 by UT Student Government and PTS, SURE Walk was originally intended as a walking service, but golf cart rides were introduced a little over a year ago when other colleges with similar services began using golf carts.

The SURE Walk team is always working on new ways to make students feel safe and comfortable on campus, Hopkins said. He said no matter how many resources the organization has, students are always encouraged to request rides.

“The way we run SURE Walk has barely scratched the surface of what it could be as a safety organization, and we’re trying to grow beyond this,” Hopkins said. “The potential for improvement and to reach as many Longhorns as possible is high.”