| BC Students ReCycle for Sustainability
BC's student led group, Helping the Environment and Learning (HEAL), an environmental awareness and community service organization, will launch Berea Bikes on April 4. The community bike system will make a fleet of blue bikes available across Berea’s campus that will be free for student use.
BC student, Denise Won, sands a bike frame at the Berea Bikes workshop on campus.
With Berea Bikes, students will be able to ride to class and then leave the bike for another student to ride home. The project also will include a learning bike shop that will be incorporated into the labor program. At the workshop, proper bike maintenance and repair will be taught and the necessary space and tools will be provided.
“This project aims to build community, encourage learning of practical life skills, and encourage sustainability through bike maintenance and riding,” says "Berea Bikes" student organizer, Leah Devine.
A "Critical Mass" bike ride is also planned for the April 4 launch day. The celebration ride will leave the Alumni Circle at 5:15 p.m. All are encouraged to attend.
The idea for a community bike program was introduced in the spring of 2002. Later that year, HEAL employees and volunteers began working on the logistics of the project. Finding a workshop to restore and build the bikes was hard to do, but in the fall of 2004, La Vida Nueva, a female co-operative on campus house, offered the use of their basement.
During January short term the project team began refurbishing old and abandoned bikes on campus, as well as donated bikes. Six employees worked on the project through the campus labor program and five students and community members volunteered on the project. So far, five “blue bikes” are finished, and an additional 10 frames are in the process of being restored.
The goal is to have a fleet of 20 community bikes ready by April 1.
$550 has been raised for the project to date, but organizers say funds for the project are still needed. Donations being accepted include new and used children's and adult bicycles, new and used helmets, as well as time and money. Bike sponsors are also being sought. As a bike sponsor, groups and businesses will be able to advertise by getting their name on the bike.
HEAL is a student led environmental and social justice organization, sponsored by Berea’s Students for Appalachia (SFA) service organization. The group works for structural and personal change to create a just and sustainable world through progressive campaigns, direct action, and educational opportunities in the Berea College community. Support and funding for Berea Bikes has been provided by the SGA, Wellness and Campus Activities, La Vida Nueva, Seabury Center, Coalition For Community Building, CELTS and Berea College Public Safety.
For more information, or to make a donation, contact Leah Devine at (859) 985-3613, or email HEAL directly at Heal@berea.edu.
*Photo taken by Leah Devine.