The Office for Sustainability (OfS) has led a number of non-motorized transportation efforts over the years under the “Bike Stable” umbrella. The Open Bike Shop section of this program operated from 2012 to 2017, providing service to roughly 1300 members of the campus and community.
In support of finding a permanent home for an on-campus student led bicycle repair cooperative, the OfS hosted a Community Bike Night during spring 2018. Five volunteer mechanics were on hand to assist students, staff, faculty and community members who brought in bicycles for repair or tune ups. Over the course of the three hour session approximately 20 guests brought in bikes and each one was fixed or tuned by the end of the night. The most common repair requested was brake work, although our team also had to true several wheels while solving some ‘garage-bike’ problems - the types of issues that require specific tools or experience to tackle. Guests were also encouraged to help each other with tasks that they have become comfortable with. One notable success of the night was when a Wesustain intern learned how to change pedals on her bike, and then promptly helped a community member who was doing the same work. This method of service learning, wherein people learn a useful and directly beneficial skill, and then immediately apply that knowledge and begin to share it again is one method our community sustainability incubator employs. By providing a space where this type of knowledge is exchanged and connections are made, maintained, and sustainability can be modeled, the OfS embodies the sustainability mission, in letter and spirit.
We sense renewed opportunity to establish a campus bicycle cooperative in the near future. As WMU gears up to re-imagine and build a new South Neighborhood, we intend to be at hand, prepared to offer insight on issues such as pedestrian access and non-motorized transportation, both here and along Stadium Drive, portions of which are going through a similar re-development.