Dozens of college students in Austin, Texas, looking for a safe ride home from campus last weekend were greeted by a surprise chauffeur.

Longhorns take care of each other, and it's 'safe' to say Matthew McConaughey agrees. Don't forget to use SURE Walk when traveling home late at night; you never know who might pick you up! #BeSafe #SafeChats

Posted by The University of Texas Student Government on Monday, November 28, 2016

Movie star Matthew McConaughey showed up on the University of Texas campus for an hour to drive golf carts for SURE Walk, a program that escorts students to and from campus late at night.

SURE — which stands for Students United for Rape Elimination — was founded in 1983, to combat sexual assault and violence on and off campus by offering free walks home to students. The school's student government reached out to McConaughey, an Austin native, to help promote the service, which he did, to the delight and shock of many students.


"A lot of people were surprised and kind of thrilled by what happened," SURE Walk director Krishan Sachdev says.

Students take selfies with McConaughey. Photo by Billy Begala/YouTube.

Sachdev explained that the program expanded last year to include golf carts, like the one McConaughey captained, and an SUV, in an effort to make the experience more user-friendly. Since then, he says, use of the service has increased by 200%.  

In addition to his driver duties, McConaughey posed for pictures with students and shot a candid promotional video for the program.

Sachdev says student government has undertaken efforts to beef up and publicize the program after a high-profile murder on campus last year.

Whether the program can make a larger dent in the rate of sexual assault, which often occurs behind closed doors between people who know each other — or even between significant others — remains to be seen. Nevertheless, colleges across America have become more aggressive in their attempts to combat rape and sexual violence in recent years, with current and former students taking the initiative in many of the most high-profile cases, often finding themselves at odds with administrators in the process.

Still, Sachdev hopes that McConaughey's appearance will help publicize the program to students who might otherwise hesitate to use it.

SURE Walk recently expanded its operating hours from 10 p.m.–2 a.m. to 7 p.m.–2 a.m.

"Matthew McConaughey really, really helped us in trying to normalize this service and trying to bring it to students' attention that we're here and we're here to stay," Sachdev says.

As UT students learned over the weekend, there's nothing like a world-famous movie star rolling up in a golf cart to make asking for help seem, ironically, normal.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less
Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash (left), Kimberly Zapata (right)

Picking a psychiatrist is a precarious situation, one I know all too well. I have bipolar disorder, depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. I have been in and out of therapy for nearly 20 years. And while I have left doctors for a wide variety of reasons—I've moved, I felt better and "been better," I've given up on pharmacology and stopped taking meds—I've only had to fire one.

The reason? She was judgemental and disrespectful. In her office, I wasn't seen, heard or understood.

To help you understand the gravity of the situation, I should give you some context. In the spring of 2017, I was doing well and feeling good, at least for the most part. My family was healthy. I was happy, and life was more or less normal, so I stopped seeing my psychiatrist. I decided I didn't need my meds.

But by the summer, my mood was shifting. I was cycling (which occurs when bipolar patients vacillate between periods of mania and depression) and when I suffered a miscarriage that fall, I plunged into a deep depressive episode—one I knew I couldn't pull myself out of.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tania / Twitter

Therapy animals have become a controversial issue of recent, even though they've helped over 500,000 people overcome psychological and physical issues that have made it difficult to perform everyday tasks.

It's because countless people have tried to pass off their pets as service animals, making it hard for legitimate, trained animals to gain acceptance in public.

So when people hear about emotional support llamas, they're met with understandable cynicism. However, studies show they are great at helping children with autism spectrum disorder, and they are routinely used to cheer up people residents in retirement homes.

Keep Reading Show less