Last April, USD kickstarted a way for students to check out bicycles free of charge.
The bike share program began after receiving a $4,500 grant from the Student Government Association’s Green Initiative Fund. There are, on average, 10 red cruiser bicycles in use, and they can be spotted in the bike racks on the north side of the Muenster University Center.
The MUC Information Desk checks out an average of anywhere from 10 to 20 bikes a day.
“It’s a really great way for people to get around and it’s a free, fun thing for students to do here on campus,” Shea Kister, a senior studying ceramic art and a MUC information desk worker, said.
In order to check out a bike, students or faculty can go to the information desk in the MUC, show their identification card and check out the bike lock key. Helmets are also available for checkout.
Kister said she’s seen great success with the program.
“Sometimes, there are no bikes available,” she said.
Saeed Dabbour, a Jordanian junior from Saudi Arabia, said the program is a great way to get around the town.
“I think it’s awesome because for me, as an international student, I don’t have a car. So it’s nice for if I need to go somewhere,” he said. “It’s an easy way to get it, it’s safe and Vermillion is a safe place to bike around. I think it’s a really great program for USD.”
Douglas Wagner, director of the MUC and student programming, said he’s seen success with the program.
“There is very rarely a time when all the bikes are available, which means that they are getting used frequently,” he said.
The bikes can be used to get to class, to travel around Vermillion or just for riding around campus.
“It’s a really great way for people to get around and it’s a free, fun thing for students to do here on campus,” Kister said.
The bike program is useful to students who may not have a car, Wagner said.
“I think the positive things that I have seen from the bike program is that there are students who now have better access to different parts of Vermillion because they have the ability to get there quicker,” Wagner said. “A student who may not have access to a vehicle can now go purchase groceries with ease because they don’t have to haul them back on foot.”
Wagner said international students have especially enjoyed taking advantage of the program.
“This program has been a huge benefit to our international student population who may not have the ability to drive, but the desire to get involved with the community,” Wagner said.
The bike share program is expected to continue to grow.
“The hope is to expand the program so that there are more bikes available,” Wagner said. “The hope is that we can offer more bikes and serve more students.”