Samar Magdy, an integrated marketing and communications junior, had an idea. She felt that the security situation was too unsafe, and decided to take matters into her own hands, starting a carpooling service on Facebook for members of the American University in Cairo community.
“Do you remember when the situation was very unstable and thugs were attacking people in the streets and highways? “I was waiting for someone to initiate the idea of carpooling, because I had never experienced carpooling before, so I thought I could start an event on Facebook, and this is what happened exactly.
When I finished creating this event, I found lots of students willing to help out with the whole thing,” Magdy said. Although she initially feared that the idea would be met with sarcasm, she noted that people were actually enthusiastic about it.
Magdy mentioned how other students were willing to help out, designing the page and developing an excel worksheet to organize the meeting points. She was very organized about it, asking students to mention their schedules, whether they wanted to offer a ride or needed a ride.
One of the students asked her to make it a private event exclusive to AUC students. They then started implementing the idea.
“It worked great; I live in Nasr City, and we shared a ride for three weeks,” Magdy said.
Amidst talk of cancelling classes due to the security situation, Magdy explained how starting the carpool service helped make her feel safe.
She added that she still rides with her carpool every day. It’s not only good for safety, she remarked, but also for traffic and environmental reasons, it’s very effective: “Revolution aside, this is a very environmentally friendly activity; you reduce (carbon emissions),and you reduce the amount of parking spaces taken up at the university. Everybody wins.” She added that many students have not only felt safer and more environmentally conscious but have also made new friends.
A student who participated in the service, Lina Shateta, mentioned that she has really enjoyed carpooling: “I like that I feel safer; we are a group of girls, and it’s also kind of fun.”
Magdy would like to expand the experiment, if it is possible, suggesting the idea of a booth on campus.
Regarding the project, Mohamed Ashour, an electronics sophomore, said: “I actually will start my own carpool next semester. I see it as a very good opportunity to meet people.”