Even with Stanislaus State having a strict alcohol policy, off campus parties with the presence of alcohol consumption still exist. It’s virtually impossible to keep these types of parties from taking place, but there are ways to ensure that those attending these events stay safe, and that’s what the Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving (RADD) initiative is trying to accomplish.
The RADD initiative began in Northern California in 1985 after the news of a fatal car crash involving teens was released over radio airwaves. Since then, musical artists have encouraged, not only concert attendees, but all people who go out and celebrate any occasion to drink responsibly and find a safe ride home.
As the new school year begins, RADD has shifted their focus to college campuses across California with their “Swipe Right” campaign. The Swipe Right campaign is a collaborative effort between RADD, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). Together, they have placed billboards, flyers and posters encouraging students to “swipe right on a safe ride home.”
These encouraging messages will be exposed to 60 partnering California college campuses, including Stanislaus State and there are plans on partnering with many more schools in the future.
The idea behind using the “Swipe Right” campaign slogan is that the term may be relatable to the majority of young teens who are attending college. “Swipe Right” is a term made popular by online dating apps. When you swipe right, you are approving of a person. “Swiping right” on a safe ride home means that you are choosing and preferring to have a designated driver or another form of safe transportation.
In a press release by ABC, RADD President Erin Meluso explained the importance of the message and what she hopes will result from the campaign.
“By instilling the rideshare safety message ‘Swipe Right on a Safe Ride Home,’ students can make smart, informed decisions about how they get home. Our goal is to help guide students’ home in the safest way possible.”
One thing that stands out from Meluso’s statement is the smart and informed decisions that one must make when making your way home. Smart and informed decisions also need to be made on online dating apps, making many at RADD feel confident that the “Swipe Right” message will be effective.
As a student who has previously attended off campus parties with alcohol consumption in the past, Keila Torres (sophomore, Biology) completely understands why this initiative could be of use.
"I think campaigns like RADD are necessary because of the idea that many college students have about college life. They are young adults that want to have a good time, but end up making bad decisions... There is a way people can still have fun and drink at a party without having to drive under the influence and this program can help bring awareness to that."
One reason why the state of California and RADD are focusing so much on college campus communities is because statistics regarding alcohol consumption and death among young adults, specifically college students, have become troubling.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 21.5% of teens and young adults who drive are involved in fatal, alcohol-related vehicle accidents. Furthermore, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
These concerning statistics were one of the many reasons why Jacob Appelsmith, director of ABC, feels as if the RADD “Swipe Right” initiative is necessary.
“We need to shine a spotlight on the importance of getting college age students to discuss how everyone will get home safely before they consider attending a party where alcohol is being consumed. Too many young lives are lost every year in tragedies that can be avoided."
Some of the resources that RADD wants students to consider to help them arrive home safely are Uber, Lyft, public transportation, or simply contact a family member or friend to drive them home from a party.
Every year, there are still plenty of alcohol related incidents that occur on and around Stanislaus State. According to Stan State’s 2019 Clery security report, there have been 75 liquor law referrals and 1 liquor law arrest over the course of the past 3 years.
The news of RADD's campaign kicking off on college campuses is also relatively new to Stan State's university police department.
UPD Lieutenant Matt Dillon did not know what RADD was, but sees how they can help, especially knowing that the possibility of alcohol consumption on and around campus exists.
“The safety of students and the campus community is the top priority of the University Police Department. Efforts to raise awareness about the impact of drunk driving are important and UPD welcomes the efforts of organizations such as RADD."
"Students need to be aware that drunk driving is a serious crime that results in many deaths and injuries to innocent people every year,” Lieutenant Dillon continued.
Although there have been no serious injuries or deaths related to alcohol consumption on campus in recent memory, the purpose of RADD’s “Swipe Right” initiative is to inform and educate the campus community and, ultimately, make sure that these types of accidents and fatalities never even have the slightest of chances of happening.