The University of North Carolina Wilmington is one of only 26 universities in the nation to be designated as a Bicycle Friendly University at the bronze level by the League of American Bicyclists. Only one other higher education institution in North Carolina, UNC Greensboro, has received this designation. The prestigious honor comes just as the City of Wilmington, which recently received a similar designation, prepares for the grand opening of the campus section of the Cross City Trail, on Friday, Oct. 14.
After careful review of an application and consultation with campus cyclists, the award was granted to UNC Wilmington for encouraging students, faculty and staff to partake in non-motorized forms of travel including commuting to campus on bicycles. This year, UNCW was one of six universities to receive the prestigious honor.
"This award is presented only to campuses with remarkable commitments to bicycling," said the director of Bicycle Friendly America program, Bill Nesper.
The option to buy bicycles and skateboards and have them custom detailed on campus is one of the numerous reasons UNCW was singled out for its commitment to sustainable transportation. Since August, several students, including studio art major Chris Bowen, have custom painted bicycles, skateboards, flip-flops and more for UNCW ECOteal, a unique campus store focused on environmentally friendly retail.
"Although the award is simply a 'designation,' it does have powerful implications in terms of developing a more bicycle friendly campus," said Tamlyn Shields, Obesity Prevention Initiative Coordinator at UNCW. "A 'bike friendly' campus aligns with the university's mission to promote health and develop a more sustainable campus."
The City of Wilmington held an award ceremony for their own designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community on the bronze level in July 2011. The city and university's unified commitment to alternate transportation will shine at the grand opening of the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14 in front of Trask Coliseum on Wagoner Drive. The city received $2 million in federal stimulus funding for this section of the trail.
UNCW's designation is current for four years and will be up for renewal in 2015. The League nationally publicized the announcement on Oct. 10 at the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference in Pittsburg, Pa.
Groups that have been involved through the process include UNCW Obesity Prevention Initiative, UNCW Parking and Transportation, Cape Fear Cyclists, the City of Wilmington Transportation Planning, the UNCW Student Cycling Club, the UNCW Employee Wellness Committee and the UNCW Police Department.
For more information:
Bicycle Friendly Communities – League of American Cyclists
Gary Shell Cross-City Trail
ECOteal Custom Detailed Bikes and Boards