November 05, 2015 | by Stephen Mease / Champlain News
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (Nov. 5, 2015) The League of American Bicyclists recognized Champlain College today with a Silver Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) award, joining more than 100 colleges and universities from across the country to earn the bike-friendly campus designation.
“We are now part of an elite group of only 45 institutions in the country that are designated a top level Silver, Gold or Platinum BFU and only the second campus to be awarded in Vermont,” according to Nic Anderson, Champlain’s sustainable transportation coordinator. The University of Vermont is the other Silver BFU.
“We are honored by this award and the national recognition for the College’s ongoing efforts to become more sustainable in all areas, including transportation options for our students, faculty and staff,” noted Champlain President Donald J. Laackman, who is an avid bicyclist himself.
“Champlain College has focused a lot on improving the bicycle program on campus over the last two years with the creation of my role as sustainable transportation coordinator which has allowed us to better coordinate efforts with the City of Burlington, CATMA, and Sustain Champlain,” Anderson said.
Champlain College now has seven bicycles available for any student or employee to use for free — for up to four hours at a time. Three bikes are available to be checked out at The Hub Desk on the second floor of the IDX Student Life Center on campus, and four bikes are available for use at the Lakeside campus off Pine Street. The bikes are a mixture of mountain bikes, cruiser bikes and city bikes in a variety of sizes to fit most.
Earlier this year, the College opened a bicycle mechanic workshop in its residential Juniper Hall for students and employees to use to maintain and repair bikes. The space was funded by the Champlain College Green Revolving Fund. This fall brought a new all-weather outdoor bike shelter and bicycle tool station adjacent to the Center for Communications and Creative Media.
In June, a new Champlain College Bike Share program and weekly campus rides program began, and in August, the College dedicated a rainbow-colored bike rack at Aiken Hall to celebrate the LGBTQ community. Anderson said those programs are all part of Champlain’s efforts to encourage bicycling as an easy option for transportation.
Among the other features and amenities that helped earn the Silver BFU designation:
- Launch of Champ Rides, Champlain’s free bike share program with bikes available at the Lakeside Miller Center campus and the IDX Student Life Center,
- Opening of ChampShop, a free self service bicycle mechanic workshop in Juniper Hall,
- Installation of high quality, functional bike racks including a rainbow colored rack with Champlain’s Rainbow Alliance to celebrate the LGBTQ community on campus,
- Installation of Champlain’s first dedicated bicycle shelter complete with an outdoor Fixit Stand and pump,
- Completion of a draft Active Transportation Plan,
- Hiring of a federal work study position as a dedicated Bicycle Program Coordinator,
- Installation of two indoor bike storage rooms in residence halls and
- Launched CAREBikes in collaboration with the C.A.R.E Program of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to provide bikes to underrepresented students, students from our partner programs and first-generation populations .
“We are proud of these accomplishments but are are not resting on our laurels (or our silver designation) as we continue to push for more bicycle facilities on campus and improve bicycle programs and services into the future,” Anderson added.
Moving forward, Champlain will have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly. “When colleges and universities invest in bicycling, great things happen” Anderson said.
The Draft Active Transportation Plan is open for a final two-week review period today through Nov. 20. Review the plan and provide comments on any page or complete the short feedback form. Visit the Active Transportation Plan webpage more information on the plan.
“Now in its fourth year, we’ve seen the Bicycle Friendly University program reach an exciting level of growth and momentum, as more and more campuses support bicycling in new and innovative ways,” said Amelia Neptune, the League’s BFU program manager. “From bike storage inside dorm rooms to bicycle-powered music festivals, we applaud this round of BFUs for raising the standard of what a bicycle-friendly campus looks like.”
With today’s announcement of 49 new and renewing BFUs from 31 states, Champlain joins a cutting-edge group of colleges and universities across the United States transforming their campuses and the communities around them. To learn more about the free BFU program, visit the League online at www.bikeleague.org/university.