Pictured Above: Emily Tilton, biology senior, gives her presentation over the Builder Bikes program as a part of the requirements for her minor in sustainability. (Krista Scheuerman/Courtesy Photo)
By Kylie Stamper
Social Media Editor
Have you ever wanted to take a bike ride to the park or around campus but you couldn’t because, well, you don’t have a bike? Emily Tilton, biology senior, hopes to change that next year.
Tilton started the program called Builder Bikes as a part of her senior project requirements for her minor in sustainability. The idea to initiate the bike program came after Tilton and other members of the Green Team attended the AASHE conference, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, in October. During the conference, Tilton attended workshops about bikes and found out that there was a school in Alaska that has a bike rental program and a bike maintenance shop. Her thought was that if Alaskan students wanted to rent bikes, SC students would too. She began the program as her senior project and hopes it will catch on and become an important part of the SC campus for years to come.
The basis of it is that a student would pay $20 for a semester or $40 for the school year and that would grant permission for that student to rent a bicycle for their personal use.
Tilton is working with Grace United Methodist Church’s Green Team. The church and Lora Andrews, pastor at Grace UMC, are also helping her get a grant to be used for the future of the bike program. Currently, Tilton’s budget for the project is $1000 that will be used for bike restoration and maintenance and other immediate needs.
One of Tilton’s main reasons for the project is its long term benefits. She said, “Bicycling is a healthier and more sustainable type of transportation when you compare it to a car. You can reduce carbon emission, spend less money on gas, and it’s healthier for you than driving a car.”
Tilton hopes to establish a solid program on campus so students can check out bikes for rides across campus, down the street, and even across town. She also hopes the bike program will help the international population at SC. She said, “A lot of them come from a biking culture but can’t bring their bikes on the plane with them.” By providing the bikes, international students, students who don’t have cars/transportation, and those who just want to ride bikes have an accessible option for transportation.
Krista Scheuerman, marine biology senior, is helping with the project. She said, “We’ve had a lot of feedback from students that said that they would ride a bike on campus except they can’t bring one, don’t have one, whatever. Some also don’t have a car so there’s no way to get around town except walking.”
Tilton also works with a group from SC’s Green Team that help with details, publicity, contacting, making arrangements, etc. This team is made up of Tilton, Scheuerman, Kali Brewer, chemistry & biology sophomore, Kiley Lott, biology freshman, and Beth Jewett, accounting freshman. Jason Speegle, director of Green Team, is also assisting in the project. After Tilton and Scheuerman graduate, Lott, Jewett, and Speegle will take charge of the rest of the project.
Tilton is currently accepting bike donations from community members and students rather than buying new bikes. She said, “We are getting the bikes from community members because we wanted to choose the most sustainable option so were upcycling bicycles that community members don’t want anymore and we are fixing them. That’s a lot of what the grant is going to go to is replacing tires and brake pads, etc.”
The goal for the beginning of the program is to have 10 bikes available to check out. Tilton also says she is working on getting more bike racks across campus to accommodate for the bike program.
If you have a bike or two to donate, or know of someone who would like to donate, call 316-759-9705 or email Emily at email@example.com.
Kylie Stamper is a junior majoring in communication. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org