The Center for Student Engagement, Outdoor Education and the Office of Sustainability collaborated to create HoyaCycle, a bicycle rental pilot program, that launched Sept. 25.
The program will enter a trial period from now until the end of the fall semester. Students will be granted access to 10 bikes, which were donated by Coca-Cola, an official university partner since the early 1990s. The offices will work with the students to determine if the program should be implemented on a larger scale in the future.
“Bicycling is a great example of an integrated sustainability solution [among] people, planet and prosperity,” Director of the Office of Sustainability Audrey Stewart said. “It helps reduce emissions, it’s affordable and it supports an active, healthy lifestyle.”
The HoyaCycle bicycle rental program is the first bike sharing program of its kind on campus. Although Capital Bikeshare provides a similar service to students, Outdoor Education Director Kris Nessler said HoyaCycle is intended to localize the concept for Georgetown student usage.
“We’ve always had students expressing interest in developing a bike share like this,” Nessler said. “We wanted to experiment and see if there was a different formula that would work here.”
The program’s future will depend on how much each bicycle is used by the students. Program directors will check the mileage on the bicycles every week to this end.
“We’re hoping to figure out if a bike share would work on campus,” Nessler said. “This semester we’re really just trying … to see if students are in fact going to utilize [bikes] to get around Washington, D.C.”
According to Stewart, the idea for HoyaCycle arose several years ago during discussions on sustainability at Hoya Roundtable events. However, the idea did not take hold until last year, after student applied for 10 Coca Cola-donated bicycles in the Office of Sustainability.
The program was funded by donations from outside companies and advocacy groups. Nessler said a challenge moving forward will be receiving funding, which will depend on student use on a permanent basis from the university.
“If we’re able to prove that the program was utilized this semester, we will have a better opportunity to … find some dollars potentially for it,” Nessler said.
Since the pilot program began so recently, Nessler explained that there has not been enough time to check any bike mileage to gauge its success. However, Nessler said he was pleased with the initial reaction of the students who volunteered to participate.
“The students who picked them up last Friday were super excited and grateful to be grabbing those shiny new red bikes to get around D.C.,” Nessler said. “We’re hoping that the responses will be positive as the program continues.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Stewart said she hopes that this pilot program will inspire students and administrators to adopt more sustainable habits in the future. Stewart praised the program’s commitment to environmentally friendly means of transportation.
“The program aims to enhance the university’s ongoing bicycle-friendly initiatives,” Stewart said. “All the partners involved are looking forward to what we’ll learn from it.”
Bridget Stanton (COL ’18), an avid bike rider interested in joining the pilot program, said she hopes HoyaCycle will raise awareness of the feasibility of using bicycles as a mode of transport.
“Biking makes it really easy for me to get around school and the city quickly,” Stanton said. “It’s also a good form of exercise.”
Clarification: An earlier version of the article wrote that students lobbied for the Office of Sustainability to convince Coca Cola to donate 10 bicycles. The students from HoyaCycle had to submit an application for the bicycles.
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