To understand the severity of climate change, you only have to type the phrase into a search engine and scroll through the reports. All of wthem list the negatives – because really, there are no positives.
As we sink deeper into environmental destruction, what are universities doing to inspire students and help them make an impact?
According to the author, John Lanchester, “The prospect of leaving a broken world for our descendants is the clearest call to action on climate change we will ever get.”
And this is a call we cannot ignore, many universities are rapidly transforming their campus environments and implementing convenient cycling facilities.
To honour this, The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) have released the top ‘bicycle friendly’ universities in the US.
LAB believes that, “Bicycling brings people together. When more people ride bikes, life is better for everyone. Communities are safer, stronger and better connected, our nation is healthier, economically stronger, environmentally cleaner and more energy independent.”
In a bid to make universities aware of their environmental impact and how they can alter a student’s mindset, they have created the Bicycle Friendly University Awards.
For Chad Larsen, the Manager of Commuter Services at the University of Utah, the awards programme has been a godsend.
As Larsen explains, “The application gave us ideas how we can improve bicycling on campus. We will be addressing our bicycle subcommittee making sure we have all the departments represented. We appreciate the recognition, so we can influence administration for future funding.”
By giving academic institutions across America the incentive to improve their cycling facilities, universities and their students have something incredibly valuable to work towards.
Here are the Top 5 Bicycle Friendly Universities for 2019 that achieved gold status…
We went for the gold, and got it! UK is officially the only gold level Bicycle Friendly Campus in the Commonwealth! 🚲🥇 https://t.co/4jQwXF7KYu
— University of Kentucky (@universityofky) August 24, 2018
With a bikeshare scheme and a commitment to bicycling since it first applied to the Bicycle Friendly University program in 2011, Kentucky has claimed first place.
Offering a bike voucher programme, free commute planning assistance and free bike permits to help deter bike theft, the university has also entered into a partnership with Spin, a stationless bike-sharing service to increase mobility across campus.
#Terps: the mBike system will be temporarily paused to keep riders and bikes safe. The system will be turned off Thursday, 1/31, and will be turned back on Saturday, 2/2, when temperatures rise. 🚲 If you have any questions you can reach out to email@example.com. pic.twitter.com/z92jm9rnAA
— UMD DOTS 🚍🚘🚲 (@DOTS_UMD) January 31, 2019
Securing second place, the University of Maryland has a core focus on safety and physical wellness.
With a campus that supplies students with free bike repair resources, covered bike parking, discounted equipment, classes on bike safety and group rides, the university has been named a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists.
— HarvardPublicHealth (@HarvardChanSPH) September 6, 2018
Harvard offers a number of services designed to promote bike access and safety, including a unique reimbursement system called the Bike Benefit Programme.
But creative projects such as the ‘Bling-Your-Bike’ event, for which the university provided lights and reflectors for bikes, may have helped win judges over!
— Dickinson College (@DickinsonCol) November 19, 2018
With newly covered bike racks and indoor bike storage inside the new High Street Residence Hall, Dickinson has numerous bicycling amenities for students to use.
Facilities include The Handlebar, an on-campus teaching bike repair co-op, and incentives like the Green Bikes Programme, which loans bikes built by Handlebar volunteers to students, faculty and staff for semester-long use.
For those who rock the wheels in the winter, we have a day for you.
Winter Bike to the U Day — Wednesday, 7-9a
— University of Utah (@UUtah) February 4, 2019
Utah strongly believes that cycling to campus saves time, money and the planet.
At this university in Utah, you don’t have to search for vehicle parking or pay for a permit. The majority of campus buildings have a bike rack at or near a building entrance, giving you a free parking space. The university even has its very own campus bike shop for repairs located in its Annex.
These are the top five, but you can check out the full list of universities here to see if yours made the cut!