In 2010 alone, UGA police arrested 150 people on campus for driving under the influence. The number of drunk drivers in Athens-Clarke County who don’t get caught is probably much, much higher. Athens is notorious for its party culture and vibrant downtown bars that stay busy throughout the week. Many students go out to have a good time with friends, have some drinks, let loose and many of them get in the car to drive home without thinking twice about it. However, as an Athens resident, you’re provided with an alternative to driving yourself home-a free designated driver.
If you’ve ever been downtown on a Friday night, you’ve probably seen them on set up on College Ave in the Fred Building by City Bar and occasionally sporting their bright green t-shirts. This group of people is none other than UGA’s Designated Dawgs. The recipient of numerous student organization awards, this organization offers free rides to students who have indulged in one too many alcoholic beverages. In 2001 former student Tim McNary founded WatchDawgs after he had heard about numerous student drunk driving and mugging incidents that, unfortunately, we still hear about today. He was inspired by a similar program at Texas A&M. In 2009, WatchDawgs officially changed its name to Designated Dawgs. The organization has provided over 60,000 free rides home in an effort to save lives and prevent drunk driving. Their services are not only limited to students, the entire Athens community can take advantage of this wonderful organization.
The concept is simple: If you need a ride you can walk up to their downtown headquarters or you can give them a call. The group’s goal is to provide the community with “safe, non judgmental” rides home. No questions asked. Anywhere in Athens. Whether you are over 21 or not, you can use this great organization.
“We’re not trying to hand you a Bible, we just want to give you a ride home,” one volunteer said.
Student volunteers are paired off, one navigator and one driver, in a vehicle rented by Designated Dawgs through Enterprise. They even have sick bags just in case. If you’re interested in volunteering (and some of the best people watching around), the organization is always looking for help on Friday and Saturday nights. Sure volunteering requires you to give up a weekend night but not only is it a great way to give back, it is a great way to meet new people and socialize. Plus, if you ever need to use Designated Dawgs, they will be there for you.
The next weekend you think about doling out cash for a cab fare or think you’re “in the clear” to drive home, look instead to College Avenue and the Designated Dawgs; you’ll be doing yourself and others on the road a huge favor. Designated Dawgs operates Fridays and Saturdays from 11PM- 3AM.
Designated Dawgs Phone Number: 706-369-6601