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Community Colleges Leverage Resources to Boost Cycling on Campus and Beyond
Students at Santa Monica College learn bike repair from experts.
Texas Southmost College (TSC) and Santa Monica College (SMC) are two community colleges recently recognized in the League’s 2018 Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) awards. Community colleges are increasingly joining the bike movement, and other community institutions can learn from what is happening in this growing sector of the higher education arena. Both TSC and SMC have been able to create and leverage resources to promote bicycling on campus in a way that aligns with the League’s 5 Essential Elements of a bicycle friendly location: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation.
Texas Southmost College, Brownsville, TX (Honorable Mention)
This year was Texas Southmost College’s first time applying for BFU status. Given Honorable Mention this year, this college will use what they learned from applying to continue to improve bicycling resources on campus.
TSC is a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and is part of a demographically diverse community; 95% of the population is Hispanic and 33% live below the poverty line. Biking is an affordable transportation option and TSC has made it easier for more people in the community to bike. The campus provides bike racks, showers and lockers for bicyclists, safe streets equipped with stops for bicyclists and pedestrians, and bike share options.
TSC partners with event organizers to promote local bicycling events to the community, encouraging faculty, staff, and students to attend. Pedal to Padre, Cyclobia Brownsville, and the Raul Alcala Challenge are three events that TSC promotes to connect with the community. During the Raul Alcala challenge, TSC serves as race headquarters and sponsors uniforms for the race team.
The college has also worked hard this year to form the Bicycling Awareness and Safety Advocacy Committee to bring together college bicycling resources and policies as well as develop infrastructure to continue to advance the League’s 5 Essential Elements.
Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA (Silver)
Another community college promoting bicycling on campus is Santa Monica College. This year, SMC moved from a Bronze to a Silver BFU, as the college has made outstanding developments in cultivating bicycling culture since their last designation in 2014.
The SMC Bike Club hosts workshops on campus.
Developments include the installation of a 400 space bike-park that includes u-bar racks for increased bike lock security, two DIY fix-it stands with pumps and basic repair tools, a bottle refill fountain, a skateboard locker rack, safety lighting for students, and 24 hour security cameras. SMC was also able to offer two new free bike-related classes this fall that will help to train new and existing employees on bicycle repair and the logistics of managing a business.
SMC is committed to making sure all students are equipped with the tools necessary to bike. There are numerous opportunities for students to attend educational riding workshops on campus and maintain their bikes through free repair services and expert advice. The campus also hosts bike giveaways for students on financial assistance at the college who might otherwise not have the opportunity to ride.
The campus sets high sustainability goals that the SMC bike program helps to advance. Moving forward, they hope to continue to cultivate bicycling on campus to encourage fossil-free transportation.
Students at SMC enjoy a bike share ride together.
Congratulations to these two colleges! Keep up your outstanding work in helping to create a bicycle friendly culture in your community. If your community college is interested in learning how to promote bicycling on your campus feel free to reach out to our Bicycle Friendly America Director, Amelia Neptune [email protected] or Ferris Kawar, Sustainability Project Manager, Center for Environmental and Urban Studies at Santa Monica College [email protected]. BFU application fee discounts are available to community colleges, and the next BFU application deadline is August 22, 2019. Learn more about the Bicycle Friendly University program at https://bikeleague.org/university.