5-SURE began as a SURE (Students United for Rape Elimination), first operating on March 5, 1979 during a time when rapes on and around campus were at epidemic levels. One student, who had been bothered by these events for several months, read an article by a rape victim that inspired him to take action. He recruited thirty students to volunteer two hours per week as escorts. SURE was fully funded during its first year with $900 from the Office of Student Affairs. This covered the phone line and printing costs. The Stanford Police Department donated flashlights, whistles and badges, while most publications, especially the Stanford Daily, donated advertising space. Escorts rode bicycles to any location on campus, then walked or biked alongside the students to their destinations within one mile of campus. The service began operating five nights per week, from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and quickly extended its hours to include a Winter shift from 6:30 to 8:30. SURE was created during the 1970's women's movement, and was under constant fire for its “chivalrous” nature. Frequent editorials in the Stanford Daily argued both sides of the issues. Liberals opined that an organization founded and run by a man was the wrong recipe to thwart a crime of male dominance, while conservatives argued that SURE gave women the opportunity to be safe while traveling across campus at night. To appease the critics, SURE added women escorts, requiring that they work in teams of two. This, coupled with the fact that the founder and director refused to engage in the debate, caused the sometimes heated argument to subside over time. SURE ran successfully for several years, but unfortunately, during the 80's the service stagnated and stopped running.
In the 90's, SURE Escorts reemerged as 5-SURE. Gradually, SURE Escorts once again became synonymous with campus safety, trustworthiness, and reliability. It operated seven days a week, providing a welcomed resource when that daytime study session became a late-night excursion. The service also increased its efficiency by introducing golf carts in lieu of the traditional walking escorts. This boosted its ridership attesting to the service's innovative nature, as no other campus had or currently has such a program. These unique characteristics rooted 5-SURE into Stanford culture and have since enabled it to develop into its success as a service to the Stanford community.
What We Are Today
5-SURE has since changed its name to Students United for Risk Elimination as of January 24, 2011. This change was made since 5-SURE has evolved over the years as users have utilized our services to not just eliminate rape, but other risks including but not limited to theft, assault, and possible stalking situations. 5-SURE makes use of a motor vehicle and golf carts, two-way radios and paid drivers to maintain a constant nighttime presence on campus. Over ten part-time student-staff are employed by 5-SURE who work in collaboration with campus departments and organizations such as Public Safety, the Women's Center, Residential Education, and Risk Management. 5-SURE is student-managed and supervised by the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education. Our 'Home Base' is located in Old Union at the first floor desk. Staff responsibilities entail answering phones at the dispatch desk and driving the carts, and supervising the Old Union building. A typical shift involves two to three people - one person to answer the phones while the others drive. As many as two vehicles roam campus on busy nights. To request a ride, riders are encouraged to call or just show up at the desk if you’re in the vicinity. 5-SURE is for all Stanford students, faculty and staff. Drivers are trained to handle a variety of situations from verbal abuse to alcohol poisoning. The service assists thousands of students per quarter by providing transportation to and from a variety of campus locations that range from parties and other campus activities to dormitories and libraries. 5-SURE welcomes any constructive criticism, service oriented workers, and/or opportunities to aid the Stanford community by eliminating serious physical risks.