Andrew Bennett ’08 keeps Safe Rides rolling with a generous gift
Andrew Bennett ’08 was a senior when he made a $50,000 pledge to establish an endowment to support the university’s Safe Rides program, which offers students free transportation home on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. As part of his commitment, Bennett made annual gifts so he could begin supporting the program immediately. In April, he made a $16,000 gift to complete his pledge.
This gift, one of the largest made by a young alumnus, has enabled the university to expand the scope and impact of Safe Rides, which is run by student volunteers who serve as drivers, navigators and dispatchers.
“Andrew’s gift allowed us to significantly expand our operations and improve our efficiency by adding two vans to the Safe Rides fleet in 2010,” says Mary Leigh Frier, a Safe Rides advisor. “With Andrew’s support, our Safe Rides team has given over 8,000 rides to Elon students this year.”
“It is thanks to Andrew Bennett that our Safe Rides vans run every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night,” says Frances Hamilton, director of Safe Rides. “We are able to better serve the Elon community and provide a safe form of transportation to students.”
Bennett, of Cleveland, Ohio, has consistently supported his alma mater. He serves as a member of the Young Alumni Council and joined a group of young alumni who made a $20,000 bonus gift during the 2011 IGNITE Challenge to boost young alumni giving. He created the Andrew G. Bennett ’08 Safe Rides Endowment to give students responsible alternatives to drinking and driving.
“This gift has enabled me to make a positive impact on students and the Elon community,” Bennett says. “It allows students to have fun and at the same time provides them the option to do so in a safe manner. I think it is important to have fun and live your life to the fullest, but be mindful of how your decisions and actions can impact others.”
Bennett encourages all students to support Elon as alumni.
“I hope this gift serves as an example to students about the importance of giving back either financially or by volunteering their time to the people, institutions and causes that have positively affected their lives,” Bennett says. “Elon provided me with the support, tools and capabilities to be successful in the real world, and I believe it is my responsibility to give back. I have been fortunate to be in a position to make a difference, and it is a privilege to help a community that I love.”