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Switching gears on campus biking

100 University of Dayton freshmen pledge not to bring cars to campus
University Business, December 2013
University of Dayton freshmen pledge to ride with two wheels rather than drive with four.
University of Dayton freshmen pledge to ride with two wheels rather than drive with four.

One hundred freshman at The University of Dayton were given bikes this fall after the students signed a pledge not to bring a car to campus during their first two years at the Ohio school.

The new initiative is part of a successful bike-sharing program launched two years ago for Dayton’s 11,000 students. So far, bikes have been checked out 4,500 times—including 3,000 times just in the past year—and a new bike path running through the 400-acre campus opened in July.

The program follows Dayton’s philosophy of educating the whole person, says Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management and marketing.

“It also helps us to differentiate our opportunity of education from other schools,” he says. “We believe programs like this will attract students by showing our commitment to sustainability. We don’t just say it, we live it.”

The 100 freshmen were chosen at random from 293 who submitted pledges, and winners were notified before coming to campus. Male students received a Linus Roadster Sport and female students were given the Linus Dutchi 3.

All bikes were equipped with three-speed shifters and rear carrying racks, and winners were also provided with safety helmets. Dayton purchased the bikes with money saved by other green initiatives, such as cutting back on paper and printed textbooks, Kumarasamy says.

Students can keep the bikes, which are branded in university colors, after graduation. Dayton officials may launch the program for future classes.

Other institutions with similar pledge-based programs include The University of New England in Maine and Ripon College in Wisconsin.