Project Green launches new program
by Jeff Green
Don’t be surprised if you see an influx of bicyclists meandering their way to and from the St. John’s campus soon.
That’s because a new project will be launched later this month that’ll actually promote the use of pedal bikes instead of motorized vehicles.
It’s all part of a new concept known as BikeShare being co-ordinated by MUN Project Green in partnership with the Sierra Club Atlantic Canada Chapter.
Students, staff and faculty will get a chance to borrow a well-maintained bike donated by the greater community to use for as little as a week or as long as a semester. Membership is a mere $15, part of which is returned at the end of the semester. Participants can also volunteer three hours with Project Green instead of paying the fee.
BikeShare will be officially launched in the University Centre on Sept. 24. Organizers will be on site promoting the benefits of the program until Sept. 26. People will be able to register for the program, get information about global warming and what they can do to help, attend a bike repair workshop and attend a film screening.
“The purpose of BikeShare is to provide the university community with an affordable, environmentally- friendly, healthy, and fun alternative to fossil fuel-based transportation,” explained co-ordinator Leah Fusco.
“This not only provides an important service to students, many of whom cannot afford a bike or cannot bring theirs to campus, but it is a good opportunity to educate the community about fossil fuel use and global warming.”
It also gives participants a chance to travel the city, something they may not have been able to afford to do before, added Ms. Fusco, who just finished her MA in sociology examining the environmental movement in this province and how it has responded to the offshore oil industry.
Organizers have depended on donations from the wider community such as the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for the bikes. In fact, Ms. Fusco said they’re still accepting donations.
Once BikeShare gets rolling, Project Green will update its website noting how many bikes are available and when.
The new program is just one in a long list of green initiatives that have made headlines recently at Memorial. Earlier this month, the Sustainability Office, with support of Project Green, co-ordinated an Idle Free Campaign aimed at letting motorists coming onto the St. John’s campus know that they are in an idle free zone. Volunteers approached vehicles and handed out information flyers highlighting the economic and environmental benefits of not idling a vehicle. For those vehicles that had their engines turned off, the students offered them a window decal to put in their vehicle to indicate they do not idle.
Meanwhile, another campaign Lug a Mug aims to get students, faculty and staff to minimize the use of disposable cups when ordering take-out drinks. It will be further rolled out this fall.
To learn more about BikeShare, visit www.mun.ca/projectgreen.