Campus Life

Red Nose back on the roads

A year after setting program records for total rides and money raised, Operation Red Nose (ORN) is on the road again for Pronghorn Athletics.

Operating under the slogan, Let Rudy Take the Wheel, the Horns will be participating in their 18th Operation Red Nose, a countrywide initiative aimed at curbing drinking and driving by chauffeuring partygoers and their vehicles home safely.

The program is an annual win-win for the Horns and the southern Alberta community. Run by volunteers and supported generously by community sponsors (such as insurance providers Alpine and Intact Insurance), rides are free of charge to users, with donations accepted. In the end, the program works as a major fundraiser for Horns Athletics and takes numerous potentially unsafe drivers off the roads.

This season, with new Alberta blood-alcohol content regulations in effect, it's expected Operation Red Nose will be utilized more than ever.

"You're really going to need a big volunteer base to cover the demand," says the Lethbridge Regional Police Service. "It's a fantastic program. We have people out on a designated check stop all throughout December and we'd rather have them not find an impaired driver than to have someone who could have used Red Nose come through our stop and get charged."

Sandy Slavin, the director of Sport and Recreation Services, says the push for volunteers is ongoing.

"I would think we need upwards of 800 volunteer slots that need to be filled," says Slavin. "That can include one person filling two or three slots but by the end of the day, there are 800 slots to fill, which is pretty substantial, especially closer to Christmas when the majority of our athletes have headed home."

The first weekend of ORN proved projections right as 170 rides were provided by 90 volunteers on the first two nights of operation. That translates to a 13 per cent increase from last season's opening weekend. By the end of the third week of operation, ORN had given out 875 rides and remained on pace to smash last year's record totals.

Slavin has been pleased to see a number of alumni returning to campus in recent years to help with ORN. She notes that it often just takes one experience with the program for people to get hooked.

"You really do feel good at the end of the night, that you've given something back to not only the Horns program but to the community," she says. "We are finding that more and more of our alumni are coming back and that's how they support their team and their university."

Operation Red Nose operates every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening from Nov. 30 through New Year's Eve. To volunteer, contact Horns Athletics at 403-329-2681. To access a ride, call 403-320-4155 from 9:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.

This story first appeared in the December 2012 issue of the Legend. For a look at the entire issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.