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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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SGA referendum passes to bring bike sharing back to campus

Students will be able to access a new bike share program with the newly passed SGA referendum. Photo by Ariel Richards.

Eli Brotman ‘25, Tanner Alger ‘25 and Rachel Bottum ‘24 were motivated to create their new student organization, called Pedal Grinnell, to remedy some of the transportation challenges that come with living in the rural town of Grinnell. The young organization quickly got to work with its latest accomplishment, the passing of a referendum to have the Student Governmental Association (SGA) fund the introduction of a free bike share program.

The program will consist of 20 bikes with integrated safety and locking features as well as 30 different docking stations scattered around campus. Those involved with the organization will work to ensure that students have all of the equipment and instructions necessary to operate the shared bikes.

“We at Pedal Grinnell will walk you through the basics of the application, some liability stuff, getting a helmet if you need one, and the process of accessing, locking, and unlocking the bikes through an app you download on your phone,” says Alger.

Hannah Malicky, the president of the Student Environmental Committee (SEC) and the SGA’s environmental sustainability chair, believes that the dedicated team of student’s maintaining the bikes will make the program more successful than its predecessor. The Yellow Bikes Initiative occurred a few years ago, and was a previously failed attempt to create a bike share program on campus.

Furthermore, the app-based design of the program will allow Pedal Grinnell to access the locations of the bikes and who used them last, which may help prevent unaccountable bike damage, theft, and loss. Brotman hopes that this will allow them to maintain bikes for numerous years.

It’s like a self-gov eco-friendly bike system -Hannah Malicky, environmental sustainability chair

Alger, who has worked at the local bike shop Bikes To You for over 5 years, adds: “we’re hoping to have a mutually beneficial relationship with Bikes To You where we would repair the bikes and get parts from them.”

Apart from bridging the gap in the relationship between the town and the college, the bike share program also promises to decrease the carbon footprint of the Grinnell campus. Malicky compares this program with other transportation initiatives at Grinnell.

She said, “Unlike the bird scooters that are expensive, unreliable, dangerous and most importantly not very environmentally friendly, these bikes will be self-run by students with no charging needed… it’s like a self-gov eco-friendly bike system.”

Mary Dillon, a member of Grinnell’s chapter of the eco-activist organization Sunrise Movement, has been an avid supporter of the initiative. She values the environmental benefits of biking, saying that the inclusion of bikes will, “reduce emissions, keep students and the environment healthy, and increase accessibility to sustainable transportation practices on campus.”

“There’s been a lot of push to try to get more environmental legitimacy on this campus over the past few years … the pandemic has kinda disrupted that … to us at the SEC and SGA, this seems like a really big win not just for environmental recognition but for student’s ability to initiate valuable long-standing projects,” said Malicky.

Dillon echoes this sentiment, as for her this program is proof that “student power can get things done.”

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About the Contributor
Nick El Hajj
Nick El Hajj, Editor in Chief
Nick El Hajj, hailing from Beirut, Lebanon, is a fourth-year political science and economics major. In his free time, Nick enjoys delving into a good book, embarking on scenic drives and indulging in random documentaries. You’ll frequently find Nick waking up way too early to enjoy a peaceful morning of fishing at Arbor Lake.
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