Hop on your bike and participate in Bike2Campus– part competition, part challenge. That is what 10 colleges and universities in Chicago are urging their campus community Bike2Campus Poster to do this Earth week. The 10 colleges and universities (listed below) are part of the Chicagoland Network for Sustainability in Higher Education (CNSHE), a network organized by NWF Campus Ecology.

I asked Kate Yoshida, Program Coordinator at the University of Illinois-Chicago, about how the Bike2Campus idea came about, since initially, this bike sub-group of CNSHE started meeting almost a year ago, and this is what she said:

I can’t remember whose idea the competition was originally (apologies to the person who thought of it), but we all thought it would be great to work together on a single event that would pull the cycling communities together in a way.  We’ve been working steadily on it since the fall developing the cycling Smarts poster for education, Dominican University took the lead on the website and got the Chipotle sponsorship (which are both huge!), we compare notes on programming ideas– I think everyone in the group brought special knowledge or experience to the planning effort.

UChicago's REcycle Program Photo Credit: Juliana Goodlaw-Morris
University of Chicago’s Bike Share Program
Photo Credit: Juliana Goodlaw-Morris

The campus community (students, staff and faculty) participating in the Bike2Campus challenge have the opportunity to win a free Divvy membership (Chicago’s bike share program), free bike tune-ups, Chipotle burritos, and other goodies and give aways.  Events are happening across each of the campuses daily to encourage biking.  They also encourage students to tag their photos on social media with #Bike2Campus.

John Wawrzaszek, Sustainability Manager at Columbia College shared about how collaborating with the other institutions has enabled Bike2Campus to gain great turnout and sponsorship:

The collective event, having strength in numbers, also helped in terms of donations and promotion. I feel that sponsors were more willing to respond to a larger ask knowing they could potentially reach 10 times the audience.

Another part that makes this exciting with the collaboration, is that this was an easy way to unify students across the city. The idea is to get students active and engaged no matter where they live or go to class. It’s a safe and fun activity that has positive impacts for the climate and their health.

It will be fun to see which institution leaves with top biking honors….friendly competition is something that will fuel us all to come back next year.

The Bike2Campus collaboration is a great way to engage students, cut carbon emissions and practice a more sustainable lifestyle.

Participating Colleges and Universities:  City Colleges of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Dominican University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Chicago and University of Illinois Chicago.

The Chicagoland Network for Sustainability in Higher Education (CNSHE) is a network of higher education institutions working to advance sustainability and accelerate climate action.  CNSHE does such by working with students, staff and faculty to share best practices and by collaborating to achieve institutional and common goals which benefit the region and society at-large.