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Soft Pedaling: Juniata Students Organizing Sustainable Bike Program

(Posted February 19, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - A group of students at Juniata College are trying to peddle an environmentally \"green\" program that uses pedal power to take students across campus, to downtown Huntingdon or other local businesses by organizing a fleet of communal bicycles that can be used by any student, at any time, to go anywhere. \"As long as they bring the bike back, they can go anywhere with it,\" says Derek Dye, a freshman from Frostburg, Md. studying biology and politics. \"We think it will encourage students to patronize local and downtown businesses rather than hopping in a car to go to one of the malls.\" Dye is organizing the program with a committee of five other students as part of the college\'s Leaders in Motion program and the Juniata College Cycling Club. Leaders in Motion is a program that identifies first-year students interested in leadership and social change. The new bicycle program, which will debut in the spring, offers free use of bikes at stations around campus. Students can use the bicycles for any errand and return the bike to any of the available stations after the errand or trip. \"We are basing usage on the honor system,\" Dye says. So far, the program has received five donated bicycles and plans to purchase five to 10 more from the Huntingdon-area Wal-Mart. Dye says the best bikes to donate are adult-sized hybrid bikes (which are multi-gear bicycles that have the larger mountain-bike tires rather than racing tires). \"We are hoping that local bike shops and families that would like to donate bicycles will take advantage of this program,\" Dye says. Any business or family willing to donate bikes is encouraged to contact Staci Weber, director of student activities, at (814) 641-3331. The program is a collaboration among the Leaders in Motion program, the college\'s Sustainability program and the Juniata College Cycling Club. The cycling club has agreed to handle the maintenance for the bicycle fleet. In addition to Dye, the bicycle program is organized by a student committee that includes: Vanessa Cerria, a freshman from Oak Ridge, N.J; Jason Fischel, a freshman from Hockessin, Del.; Dustin Gee, a freshman from Lawrenceville, Pa.; Jonathan Borrelli, a freshman from Vestal, N.Y. \"Juniata\'s student government has given the cycling club funds to buy the tools to keep the bicycle fleet in good shape,\" says Sarah Weick, a sophomore from Kintnersville, Pa. and treasurer of the club. \"More and more Juniata students are supporting the \'green\' movement and are very concerned about the environment. This will help the campus reduce our dependence on cars,\" Dye says.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.