September 20, 2010
By Diane Hageman
The College of Saint Benedict (CSB) campus is a little brighter these days, thanks to the efforts of Bridget Reilly and several of her CSB Student Senate colleagues. Bridget has led the charge in the development of the Green Bike Program which began last spring during Earth Week. The student senators painted 33 refurbished bikes a lively green color to distinguish them from other bikes on campus.
"We heard from students on other campuses that these kinds of programs were pretty popular so last fall, I contacted several other universities our size and asked them about their Bike Share Programs," said Bridget, a junior biology and Hispanic studies major from Maple Grove, Minn. "Then I connected with Marcia in Campus Recreation and she helped us to set up the program and find storage space for the bikes." The bikes were donated by students, faculty, staff, Saint Benedict's Monastery sisters and community members. They were checked over by staff at the Outdoor Leadership Center at Saint John's University and from Scheel's in St. Cloud.
Marcia Mahlum, director of Campus Recreation, explained that the bikes are treated like any other piece of equipment that can be checked out. "The students can check out a bike, the lock that goes with it and have an option to check out a helmet as well. There is no cost. The bikes need to be returned the following day by 4 p.m. and can be renewed for up to three more days. If the bike isn't returned, then there is a fine."
Both women say the program has been a huge success. "This has been a great initiative. It was student-led and has been very well-received. This has to be a partnership and my job is to help the students keep it moving forward," Marcia noted.
"It has been a really big learning opportunity for me and I really appreciate the support of Marcia in helping the senate to set up the systems and operations," Bridget added.
Right now there are 28 bikes available for check out but Marcia estimates that there is demand for 50-75 bikes on a routine basis. SJU is looking at launching a program on its campus and the long-term goal is to have a cross-campus program where bikes can be checked out and returned on either campus. Eventually, Marcia would love to see the Entrepreneurial Scholars Program open a bike shop on campus where student bikes can be serviced and the Green Bike Program would be housed.