In a college town like Huntsville, drunk driving is a major issue. Keeping drunk drivers off the streets is important not only for the safety of the driver and passengers but also for others on the road. Hence, the creation of Kat Kab in Fall 2012.
Created by Chi Alpha, an SHSU Christian organization, Kat Kab was started to combat this growing problem.
“We wanted to serve students personally and in a way that would encourage students in our organization to interact with people they may not normally get to cross paths with,” Chi Alpha staff member JC Claveri, an LSU graduate said. “We have heard that other universities have similar programs which help students get home from bars who are either unable or who do not have a safe ride home. We realized there was a need for this service in Huntsville so we decided to take it upon ourselves to create such a service.”
Kat Kab is a completely free and voluntary designated driver service.
“Completely and entirely. We do NOT charge and we refuse tips,” staff member Carrie Worsham, a Texas A&M Corpus Christi graduate, said.
The service is offered on Tuesday and Thursday nights from midnight until 2:30 a.m. at Shenanigan’s and 1:15-2:30 a.m. at The Jolly Fox.
“Kat Kabbers are usually stationed by a sign outside the entrance in blue Chi Alpha shirts,” senior education major Lindsey Weems said.
The large sandwich board is displayed right outside the building’s doors with Kat Kab drivers around it; they are easy to find. All drivers have a valid license.
“We keep our drivers limited to small group leaders or students on our leadership team. This just helps us to know that we’re giving this responsibility to people who are trustworthy and who will keep their heads on straight if anything out of the ordinary happens,” Worsham said.
On a typical night, Kat Kab has anywhere between four and 60 volunteers. Those with leadership positions and other Chi Alpha members are encouraged to attend. Although every night offers something different for Chi Alpha said that Thursdays are often busier than Tuesdays.
“A typical Tuesday night in a word: laid-back,” Claverie said. “We gather our students at the Chi Alpha House around 11 p.m., organize into groups and then make sure everyone has a vehicle and their license before we head out to Shenanigan’s, where we will typically give about five to six rides home”
Kat Kab drivers meet back at the Chi Alpha house and debrief around 2:30 a.m. Members are dismissed around 3 a.m.
“Thursday nights are a bit more hectic; we have found that Thursday nights are the bars’ busiest nights, so we usually have anywhere between 30 to 60 people show up to help out,” Claverie said.
They get started around 11:15 p.m. and go over all the rules and what-to-do’s for the night.
“We then organize people into groups of two and make four teams of those groups to make it easier to keep track of where people are going, who is taking who home and other important things,” Claverie said. “We’ve experienced taking home 20 to 30 people on Thursday nights. It usually takes a little while for all of our Kat Kab volunteers to arrive back to the Chi Alpha house.”
Kat Kab drivers are normally done around 3:15 on Thursday nights.
The success of the Kat Kab program is obvious to those involved. Not only has the program cut down the amount of drunk drivers on the road in Huntsville, but it has also made a positive impact on the community in general.
Drivers such as Carrie Worsham can attest to the fact that many students are pleasantly surprised that people are so willing to sacrifice their own time to get someone else home safely.
“A young girl I drove home a week ago explained that she had never accepted a ride from us before because she was scared we would make her feel judged. She shook my hand when I dropped her off and said that we were just really nice,” Worsham said. “The Bible says love protects (1 Corinthians 13:7) and we want to do that in every aspect.Being the hands and feet of God means taking action and I believe this is one of the best ways we can do it. We don’t want to just tell people that God loves them; we want to show it. We want Sam students to get home safe and to know how valuable they are in the eyes of the Lord.”
For more information on Kat Kab, contact Chi Alpha.