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Students working towards more bicycle-friendly universities

The application for the Bicycle Friendly University program — covering all aspects of bicycling on campus including Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation — is sparking the curiosity of students all over the country. Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina is catering to this interest by offering a class during their “May Experience” on how to create a bicycle-friendly university. This optional May term is described by the university as “courses unique in content and class activities, including an assortment of engaging academic experiences that allow faculty and students to explore topics of mutual interest.” As a testament to the value and interest in improving bicycling on their campus, this class was one of the first to fill up, and the waiting list continues to grow.

The course description portrays the class as an opportunity to expose students first-hand to the holistic process of analyzing and implementing bicycle-friendliness: Working together, participants in this program will explore what Furman is currently doing to encourage and promote cycling on campus and beyond. Emphasizing the benefits of cycling, students will gather support from the administration, faculty, staff, and students for making Furman more bicycle-friendly.

Incorporating planning for bicycles into the curriculum is a great way to promote and educate students on the importance of the economic, environmental, social and health benefits that they can influence right on their own campus. Caroline Mills, who will be teaching the class this spring says, “Primarily I want to create a class full of cycling advocates to send forth into the world!”

Students at other colleges and universities around the country are also excited to play a part in improving bicycling on their campus. Students have gotten involved in a number of ways, including:

• Creating a new model for bike-shares incorporating web and mobile technologies, like We Bike Do You started at the University of Maryland
• Founding bike rental programs, such as UT Austin’s highly successful Orange Bike Project
• Establishing bike reclamation projects, like this one at NYU
• Student-run bike shops, like the Bike Barn at UC Davis
• Working on their institution’s Bicycle Friendly University application

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