Having a good idea is similar to growing a plant from just a seed. That seed has potential to grow into something larger, something truly worthwhile, but only under the right conditions. The seed requires nourishment and nurturing.
The Bicycle Program at Castleton State College started as a seed. Joshua Ovaska and Jocelyn Emilo along with Professor Phil Lamy took an idea from a class assignment to reality in the time it takes some to grow a sunflower, about three months.
Now it’s ready to bloom.
Donated bicycles will be available for lease, and will require students to fill out an application and a waiver. In addition to these forms there will be a $5 leasing fee. All bikes that are leased will be accompanied by a lock, and helmet. Ovaska, program director, compares the policy of distributing the helmets with the bikes to renting a boat and receiving a life jacket.
“We can’t make you wear it, but you have to have one,” he said.
Essentially leasing a bike will be like taking out a library book, signed out and due at a specific date.
The program will start small with 20 recycled bikes and grow with the interest of the program. Lamy hopes it will expand to include new trails, tours and coordination with Green Mountain College.
Jan Rousse, who is helping with the administrative aspects, is enthusiastic about the timeliness of it.
“To give birth to this program in a class in the spring, and to have it approved and gain support from the student government and kicking off this fall is impressive,” she said.
The program’s goal is to promote recycling and exercise, two things that are a huge part of Vermont and Castleton culture.
“Promoting healthy lifestyles, and getting people out on their bikes enjoying the green space we live in” is what motivates Jocelyn Emilo, the program’s Communication Coordinator.
Members of our community were encouraged to donate old bicycles to the program. Rusted, missing spokes, bent reflectors, and deflated tires didn’t matter; the program needed bikes. Even dumpster diving was a resource that was tapped. Now the bikes are transformed to fully functional personal transporters.
“I live off campus and didn’t want to use my car so much and since I couldn’t get a bike, this is cheap and easy,” student Ben Kozak reasons. Castleton alum, Ryan Armiento advises using a bicycle to get to class because, “Riding a bike is free. You can use the bike for more than just going to class”.
For more information contact Jocelyn Emilo through The Center or stop by the bike garage behind the Public Safety building.