Mug share, bike share programs encourage campus participation

Allison Work

The month leading up to Earth Day brought new ways of being green to campus as Campus Climate Challenge unveiled two new “share” programs: a pilot bike share program and a Reid Campus Center mug share. Both projects aim to bring students resources not currently at Whitman.

Credit: Catie Bergman

The pilot bike share program kicked off last Friday, April 20 with the introduction of four bright yellow bikes to racks outside the library. A collaboration between CCC, the Outdoor Program, the library, the Physical Plant and Whitman security, the program currently has four bikes to loan to students with six more soon on the way.

The entire program is in a pilot stage and organizers will reassess after a year of trial and see what needs to be fixed.

“We’re hoping it works very smoothly, just like a book,” said sophomore Sara Kleinkopf, one of the project’s coordinators. “That’s the ultimate goal.”

Students check out a bike, helmet, lock and light from the library through the program, and have 24 hours to use them. One renewal is allowed during that time period.

The program has been an idea for more than a year, but began to really take shape this semester. “[The bike share has] materialized very quickly,” said Kleinkopf. “It’s sort of shocking to actually have to do things with physical materials because for so long [it was just meetings].”

The bikes themselves were sourced from campus security, according to a policy that allows security to clip the locks and confiscate bikes left in unacceptable places. If confiscated bikes are not reclaimed from storage within eight months’ time, the bikes go to the OP shop to be fixed up. A percentage have been sold to the bike share program for their use.

The bikes are purchased, and bike parts and labor paid for, with funds from the Outdoor Environmental Leadership Fund. The fund, established in 2005 by an anonymous donation from alumni, supports environmental leaders on campus in various endeavors. The parameters of eligibility for funding were expanded in 2011.

“[It’s] a really big green fund on campus,” said Kleinkopf. “Future funding for bike repairs and purchasing more bikes will likely come either from this fund, or from [the] ASWC Green Fund.”

The ASWC Green Fund aims to enrich the campus by implementing student ideas for sustainable policies. The Reid mug share mugs were purchased with funding from this grant.

Senior Maggie Massey made a New Year’s Resolution two years ago to stop using paper cups, and wants to help others attain that. Before now, drinks from the coffee cart in Reid came in paper cups unless students brought their own.

Dark blue with gold logos, the mugs went into use in Reid Friday, April 20. The mugs are located under the water jug to the side of the coffee cart. Students must grab a mug and bring it to the register before ordering to have their drink in one of the mugs. The mugs are for use in Reid only, but the 20-cent personal cup discount still applies.

Massey implemented the program to bring the ease of reusable mugs to everyone. “Since I’ve stopped using disposable mugs, I go anywhere and I bring my own mug and it [becomes] a conversation that people have,” said Massey. “I talk about how I bring my own mug and it’s a challenge that also benefits the planet and my community.”

“We hope people make use of the resource,” said Massey. “They’re here for our use and they’re provided by student money.”

Organizers are concerned the mugs will fall prey to theft, but they hope the official design and a sense of program integrity will dissuade borrowers. “This is a great opportunity to make a new name for ourselves as students who don’t just steal Bon Appétit mugs,” said Massey. “Because they’re not Bon Appétit mugs, they’re student mugs.”

Eventually, organizers hope to extend the program to more locations campus-wide, so that students can buy coffee in Reid, take a mug to class, and drop it off in a class building.

“We needed to take a small step forward,” said Massey. “This was the place to start.”