By Sela Weber – [email protected]
Two Johnnies have traded in their entrepreneurial training wheels to start a new campus bike share program.
First-year students Friedrich Odermann and Zach Kennedy began to implement a new bike share program after hearing about Enactus’ previous experimentation with the idea. Kennedy explained how the current bike system provided by the Outdoor Leadership Center (OLC) and Haehn Campus Center (HCC) has many inefficiencies. Students must go to the OLC or HCC during open hours, retrieve a key for a bike and return the bike to the corresponding campus at a time when an employee is working.
The Johnnie Bennie Intercampus Cycling program plans to eliminate all of these burdens to make a more enjoyable and simpler cycling experience.
The plan is to phase out the current bikes on campus and replace them with new bikes which use the software Republic Bike. Using a phone or the tablet on the bike, students will be able to check bikes in and out 24 hours a day. Students will download the app for the bikes and create a username and password. Each time a student wishes to ride a bike on either campus, to either campus, they will login to the app, locate a bike and unlock the bike using the application. These bikes are able to track mileage and location to prevent theft and locate a user if they indicate issues with a bike.
The CSB and SJU Senates along with various grants provided the funding for the implementation of the program. Odermann and Kennedy hope to make these bikes a reality by the end of the 2017 spring semester.
Kennedy hopes to start the program with six bikes on each campus.
Bike racks/locks for these bicycles will be located at Gorecki and Centennial Commons at CSB and Alcuin and Flynntown at SJU.
Bikes will be available to use throughout the summer and they will begin to keep them for the winter at the end of November if the weather agrees. In the spring, the bikes will be accessible once again in early March. These bikes will be accessible to all CSB/SJU students and faculty, but not to community members.
“This system would be more efficient [than the current bikes on campus] and it will lessen the department costs as well,” Kennedy said. “Maintenance fees would go down and the bikes can be refurbished better than the ones we have now which can break down very easily.”
Odermann and Kennedy were able to receive $12,500 from the CSB and SJU Senates. CSB Seante contributed $7,500 and SJU Senate contributed $5,000. Odermann and Kennedy also received a $1,500 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The project needs $16,000 to begin implementing, Kennedy explained they are 85 percent there.
Staff and faculty were receptive to the bike share program. A particular faculty member, political science professor Matt Lindstrom, has been a mentor and advocate for Odermann and Kennedy.
“This bike share program will allow for everyone to use bikes on and between campuses, not just students who live nearby and can bring a bike from home,” Lindstrom said via email. “I applaud the efforts of the program’s founders and the student senates for funding this. It’s a shame this wasn’t done a decade ago.”
This intercampus program has been executed at universities such as University of Minnesota Twin-Cities, Hamline, Princeton and Yale.
“This bike share program will draw our community together by promoting health and overall wellness for all current and future students,” Kennedy said.