Bring a Buddy began as a campaign reminding students they should never walk alone after consuming alcohol, and now many bars are joining the movement by having coasters, napkins and posters with Courtesy Cab’s number and a reminder of the dangers of walking alone.
The campaign is led by Joan and Daren Duffey who lost their son, Eric, who was a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student who went out with his friends to celebrate his 21st birthday and walked home alone, which led to him falling into the Wisconsin River.
“In the wintertime when students want to go home, it’s so dangerous to wander away by yourself, even if you’re just slightly impaired you can make a wrong decision,”said Madelynn Marshall, communications and public relations director for the Student Government Association.
Marshall has taken over the campaign on campus.
“Accidents happen all the time. I mean, our age group specifically thinks that stuff like that won’t happen to me,” Marshall said. “It just takes one wrong decision, even if you just think you’re above something bad happening.”
Awareness has spread throughout the campus and Stevens Point community.
“I have noticed a lot of coasters around, and I think more people are aware of what happened,” said Jade Schill, bartender at Graffiti’s. “I have heard the phrase more and more, and I’ve seen a positive turnaround.”
Ryan Stevenson, owner of Steveo’s, agreed that the campaign has gained momentum.
“People ask for the cab number all the time. It’s right there on the coaster, and we have posters in the bathrooms, as well,” Stevenson said.
The Duffey’s and Marshall have started to branch out and expanded this campaign further than just the Stevens Point community.
Campaign supporters went to Oshkosh and set up a table with the intention of introducing themselves and spreading awareness, Marshall said. They hope to expand across the state.