So many people at Furman own bikes but do not use them. For the most part, seniors tend to drive to class and park in the chapel lot even when the weather is nice. The kicker is that objectively, the commute to class on a bike is usually quicker than driving.
I am currently in a class called Sustainability Leadership where we were assigned an open-ended project. I chose to focus on trying to increase student awareness of sustainability and acting on this awareness rather than passively understanding it but letting their lack of initiative get in the way.
First, I looked at the amount of students who bike on campus rather than drive. Secondly, I tried to understand why those with a bike chose to drive even when the weather conditions are nice. The most common answer? Laziness. Most students simply did not want to physically exert themselves on a bike.
I then followed up by asking if they think it is faster to bike or drive to class. The common consensus among the students I surveyed was that driving to class takes less time. This is incorrect. Going from North Village to the library, academic buildings, the physical activities center, or the dining hall takes way less time on a bike. For example, if you are wanting to go to the library from North Village via car then this will take you about 10 minutes once you park in the chapel and then walk in. Biking this distance only takes three and a half minutes. Biking gets you there faster and gives you good exercise as well. You also can save money on gas. The campus is also very bike-accessible with all the paths that go through it. There is almost always a sidewalk to go on. Yes, the hills can be a challenge sometimes, but they are worth all the benefits that come with it! Bike racks are also accessible at every building.
Another sustainability issue on campus is able-bodied students hitting the handicap button when they enter a building and do not require the function of the button. This is a huge waste of energy for the building, especially because people could simply just open the doors. I think a main reason why people hit the button so often is because most students do not even know the energy that is wasted and it feels most convenient. I propose the university puts small signs above the buttons to at least create some type of awareness.
One of the main goals of sustainability science is to meet the needs of the present while also considering the needs of future generations. Routinely driving around campus and pressing buttons to open doors is wasteful and unnecessary, and the climate impact of small actions like these compound over time. So, Furman students: try something new! Bike to class, and maybe even touch a door handle.