I had the great privilege of getting to know these St. Thomas undergraduate students during spring semester as they were working on their Marketing 340 research project. They were assigned the task of conducting an analysis of the bike culture on the Minneapolis campus, where I work; there seems to be a disconnect between the fact that we’re located in one of the top ranked biking cities in the U.S., and our campus culture, which is not very supportive of bicyclists. Hannah, Lexi, Megan and Mikayla conducted focus groups and a survey of faculty, staff and students, and researched how other universities and corporate campuses have attained Bicycle Friendly statuses, then made a series of short term and long term recommendations for improvement. Making some facility changes (having a safe place to store bikes, as well as a place to change) and building awareness of the bike community and resources available seem to be pretty reasonable and manageable ideas for improvement.
They invited me to sit in on their presentation to the university’s Office of Sustainability today (and that’s my bike featured on the screen, in my office “parking spot”), and I was so proud of their professionalism in the presentation and their thorough, excellent work. Mostly, it was fun for me to get to support them in this class project that will have real impact….plus they are just lovely people!!!