Students can soon rent a bicycle for a day, a weekend or even the semester.
The Student Government Association passed a proposal last Thursday to allow an anonymous donor to buy several bicycles.
Freshman Luke McFarlan, SGA engineering senator, is in charge of the project. He began working this fall, along with two other students, sophomore Shalene Green and freshman Macy Gregory. The finishing touches on the proposal were completed in the past month or two.
“I am really excited about this program,” McFarlan said. “It will be a great asset to this campus because it will help improve JBU and allow students to enjoy the community around Siloam. They can get out and enjoy God’s creation and also take care of basic needs such as transportation to Walmart or around town.”
The donor saw a need for bicycles around campus, especially for international students and those without cars. The donor wanted these students to be able to get around town or go on rides with friends. Other than borrowing or buying a bike of their own, there was no good way for students to do that.
In addition to the funds provided by the donor, SGA approved spending just under $1,200 to purchase all the gear needed to sustain the program and make each excursion a safe one. This includes helmets, spare tubes and tires, bike locks, safety lights and tire pumps.
To borrow a bike for trips around the city, students will visit the front desk of the Health Complex, check the “city bicycling trip” option, sign a couple forms and pick up a single-gear bike, good for riding around town. Students must return these bikes within 24 hours.
Sophomore Rissa Willis is from the Dallas area and does not have a car or a bicycle on campus. She said the idea sounded like a really interesting one and she could imagine using the service to take a ride downtown or some other short trip. In reality though, she is not sure if she would actually have the time, energy or friends to actually want to check out and use a bike.
For bicycling activities outside the Siloam Springs area, students should mark the option for “biking outside of Siloam Springs” on the form. These bikes will likely be mountain-bike style and will be available for up to five days. This part of the program will begin with two bikes, but the number could increase if the demand is high enough.
McFarlan said there are several great biking areas near campus, such as Devil’s Den.
The semester-long bike program will have two bikes available through the International office by application only, since it is virtually impossible for international students to bring a bike from home. The students demonstrating the greatest need will receive the bikes for a semester.
Sophomores Ruth Cantarero from Honduras and Gabriela Mejia from El Salvador see the benefits of having bikes available for international students.
“For me it’s expensive, about a month’s Walton check just for a bike,” said Cantarero. “If I had a bike I could use it to go to Walmart, or to go downtown to Pour Jon’s since my Marketing class is working on a project there, or to get across campus quickly. It would be really helpful.”
Mejia bought a bike this year because it is her only means of transportation. She finds it is nearly too cold for riding in the winter. She thinks the proposal is a “good idea” and is really excited about how it could help her friends.
McFarlan is grateful to Steve Beers, vice president for student development; Von Eshnaur, assistant women’s basketball coach, and Robyn Daugherty, athletics director, for their guidance and support. He said they were instrumental in the planning process.
SGA also decided Thursday to purchase at least one more bike rack to put in front of the Townhouses and they will continue to look for areas that may benefit from more racks, McFarlan said.