Webster University's Sustainability Coalition will open a bike share program starting March 8. The program…
Webster to kick-off bike share program
Webster University will soon be getting some new wheels in the name of sustainability, thanks to a Webster University alumna who put the bike pedal to the metal and helped start Webster’s first Bike Share Program.
The bikes are free for all students to use, but the impact the program will have on community sustainability is priceless, according to Angela Lavin, the brains behind the program. She had the idea for the program a year and a half ago and took it by storm.
“I felt it impacted all three of the criterias for sustainability which are environmental, social and economic,” Lavin said. “Socially it allows the free access to everybody. If someone can’t afford a car, can’t rely on public transportation, you can still get out into the community around you and use the bike share program.”
The program will consist of a community bike rack with 10 bikes available to students, faculty and staff. It is free for the first two hours, and it will be located outside of the University Center (UC). They will be navy blue Momentum Cycle brand bikes, multi-speed and will have an integrated rear rack with a strap and a cup holder.
To use a bike, students can make a reservation online, reserve a particular day or time, or walk into the UC information desk. There, they must show their Webster ID, sign a waiver or confirm they already have, which will ensure and instruct students on how to properly park, lock, unlock and ride the bikes. All of the bikes will come with their own locks and keys.
Angela Lavin graduated with a major in International Social Entrepreneurship with an emphasis in Environmental Sustainability in May 2017. She was a part of the Sustainability Coalition on campus along with Kelsey Wingo and Chris Bowman. She launched this idea to President Elizabeth Stroble for more funding and it immediately hit off.
Starting off, Lavin and other members of the coalition had the idea of recycling old, abandoned bikes and refurbishing them for students. But after a while, they realized it would be better to just get all new bikes.
“In the long run, that was going to be my goal anyway,” Lavin said. “So the bikes that we had worked on have been donated so we still served all of our purposes.”
Bowman is a Dark Room/Studio coordinator at Webster. He helped choose the model for the bike, because being a cyclist himself, he knew what to look for. He found the Momentum Cycles which are utility oriented for a comfortable and relaxed ride, for every type of human body.
He is a cyclist for himself and for the environment. He hopes students will do the same with this program.
“Hopefully it will motivate and inspire students to try a different form of transportation, to not be car-dependent in running errands or getting to class,” Bowman said. “For students who don’t own a car, I hope it expands their reach of what they can access in the community.”
Community-building is a large aspect of this program, Lavin said. There is a future for the program in the works as well, including new bike racks at different locations to encourage students to support the local businesses around Webster Groves.
Lavin said she wants the program to create a bond between the university and the community.
“I want to encourage the students to jump on a bike, explore the communities around us,” Lavin said. “Encourage them to get off the campus to shop, eat and enjoy.”
There will be a kick-off party outside of the UC on Thursday, March 8 at 11 a.m. for the Bike Share program. There will be bagels and coffee and a chance for students to try the bikes out for themselves.
When Lavin graduated, Wingo helped steer the program home. She is a sustainability planner for Webster and helped plan the kick-off party for students. She said for those students who have not ridden a bike in a while, the kick-off will refresh them.
“It will be an opportunity for folks to learn more about the program, any detail they wanna ask me about they will have the chance, and to also give them a place to try it out,” Wingo said.