VIU’s Sustainability Office is reaching out to cyclists, and hoping that students and staff alike will choose their bicycles over their cars.
VIU’s Sustainability Office aims to “reduce [VIU’s] environmental footprint and foster a strong sustainability ethic in the VIU community,” according to the VIU website.
“The more students and faculty we can encourage to bike to campus,” Margot Croft, administrative assistant of Environment and Sustainability at VIU, says. “The less of an impact the University will make on the environment.”
In order to encourage cycling, the Sustainability Office introduced a new bike shelter to the lower levels of the Nanaimo campus in 2011, which provides a dry, well-lit, and security patrolled place for students and faculty to store their bikes while on campus.
Croft says that because of frequent usage of the bike shelter, as well as multiple requests, the Sustainability Office has begun construction of a second bike shelter on the upper levels of the Nanaimo campus, which should look similar to the current shelter, and be finished later this year.
Despite an increasing accommodation for cyclists on campus, some people feel that the University is still not doing enough to encourage students to cycle to campus.
“As for the campus, it’s got about everything I would want,” Steven Earle, professor in the Earth Sciences department says.
“If there is something that we really need, it’s bike infrastructure. I’d like to see better connections between the campus and other parts of Nanaimo. VIU needs to be working closely with the city, deciding where to place new bike lanes. There needs to be more publicity about routes to campus that are safe, as well. The university needs to be providing cycling maps to students.”
Solutions, a sustainability-minded student club at VIU, has been operating a public bicycle repair stand within the bike shelter since Jan. 2012. The stand is equipped with eight common bike tools, including an air pump, and is part of a collaboration between Solutions and the VIU Students’ Union.
More information on the VIU Sustainability Office can be found at <www.viu.ca/sustainability>.