By Jamell Brown-Smith
The bike rental program has existed for years, but changes to the program this year have left students confused and left without bikes.
“I went to Student Help, and they sent me to Public Safety,” said junior Allison Patterson. “Public Safety told me they weren’t running the program anymore and to ask Student Involvement. In the end I just gave up on it.”
Patterson’s story is not unique, said junior Alicia Brown a Student Help Desk attendant. Information sessions for the program were scheduled, but representatives did not show up, leaving confused students further frustrated by hoops they were jumping through to gain access to these rentals.
The rental program is a tradition at Tree House, a small living unit (SLU) for those who are interested in, “promoting Earth’s long-term survival through responsible resource use–bike-sharing, recycling, gardening, compost; the daily things that pile up and make all the difference,” according to the SLU’s description on the university’s website.
This year, seniors Melissa Guziak and Sam Sonnega are running the program. Guziak is handling the administrative duties and Sonnega maintaining the bikes. Some of the bikes are as much as three years old, according to Guziak.
Most of their inventory consists of bikes handed down from the earlier days of the program and others donated by students and Public Safety’s stock of bikes left in storage for over a year.
To rent a bike, students will need to contact Guziak via OrgSync or through her email in order to be added to a system hosted in the Hobson Science Library. After that, a waiver will be signed, making the student who checked it out responsible for their bike and any damage that may happen.
Rentals are made from Hobson where the student is assigned a number, which corresponds to one bike, lock and key. Helmets are also available in the library but are not required to check out a bike. Rented bikes are due back to Hobson before it closes on the second day of the rental.
There are about twenty bikes available at this time for rental and if they have all been checked out when a student is returning their bike, the student must wait twenty-four hours before placing another rental.
There will be a booth set up at next semester’s club fair for those who want to get into the bike system through regular channels, but Guziak said anyone interested can contact her personal email to be added outside of those official meetings. Tree House does accept donations of helmets, bikes and student time to help out with maintaining the bikes during free time.
With more bikes, Guziak hopes that they will be able to expand the program to a location closer to the residential side of campus, but until then, anyone interested will have to hike to Hobson.