Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Rubber meets the road for DU’s sustainability campaign

Cutting back on energy use, dedicating resources to buy electricity generated by renewable sources and aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050 are important parts of the University of Denver’s sustainability drive.

But DU’s newest initiative is more “hands on,” or at least, “feet on.”

The University’s bike lending library kicks off with a celebration this week. Lyndsay Agans, chair of DU’s Sustainability Council, says it’s a way of “putting rubber to the road.” Literally.

The Sustainability Council supported the idea of a bike lending program but DU students have largely driven the program. Backed financially by the Undergraduate Student Government Sustainability Committee and donations from academic departments, the program brings some 40 bikes to campus in a pilot program that will be folded into a massive citywide bike sharing program that begins next spring.

From 1–4 p.m. on Sept. 24, the bikes will be displayed at Nagel Hall, offering members of the DU community a chance to test ride the custom-designed bikes and learn about the program. From then on, checking out a bike will only entail a visit to the Nelson Hall front desk and a University ID. Riders will find the bikes sturdy, comfortable and equipped with a beefy front basket — perfect for a trip to the grocery store.

Dillon Doyle, an active member of the Undergraduate Student Government and the Sustainability Council, says the hard work of DU students paid off.

“Our student Senate served as a way to organize and implement, as well as to fundraise. Working in coordination with the City of Denver and the nonprofit Denver Bike Share, our undergraduate student government was first to sign up and raise money to bring bike sharing to the city of Denver,” he says. “I see the role of the undergraduate student government as providing the means for students to create the change they seek.”

Besides, he says, it’s time for everyone to take action and contribute.

“The cost of inaction is far too great,” he says.

When DU’s fleet of bikes arrived in September, Undergraduate Student Body President Antoine Perretta helped unload the bikes and took one for a spin. He says he’s excited about the program and how it lets students practice sustainability and make a difference in the world, a focus of the University’s new “DU Something About It” campaign.

“The bike library program will uniquely place us among the top students who are ‘DUing’ and incorporating initiatives that match those goals,” he says. “For students, it means they don’t have to purchase a bike, but can use one for free on campus and can go anywhere they want with them. This program will also further strengthen our partnership with the city.”

Agans, while preparing to lead the Sustainability Council into a new academic year with goals that reach from green purchasing programs to academic pursuits in sustainability, says the kickoff exemplifies DU’s spirit of active leadership.

“The bike library and subsequent bike-share program are not only some of the first of their kind amongst universities, but in the nation as a whole,” she says. “What’s so remarkable about the bike library program is that it was an effort led by the hard work and conviction of our students and brought to fruition by a partnership between the University of Denver and the city of Denver.”

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