Northwestern State launches bike share program for students to traverse Natchitoches
Louisiana’s first bike share program launches Tuesday at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. Wesley Campus Ministry and local United Methodist Churches will run the program and loan out bikes to NSU students and BPCC @ NSU students who are 18 and older.
Wesley Campus Minister Clair Loraine Carter says students can borrow a bike for up to three days at no charge. If there’s no waiting list when it’s returned, the student can check it out again. Carter, who has been on the job for two weeks, reached out to local churches to acquire her inventory of 12 bikes, a number that is growing by the day.
“All you can do is ask. I wrote a letter to local churches and asked them, especially their older members, to look in their garages and see if they had bicycles they hadn’t been using and donate them to us,” Carter said. “All the bikes that we have were donated. We didn’t purchase them. We don’t have an amazing budget or anything.”
Carter did her homework. She read studies about small town bike share programs and learned about potential pitfalls and how to run one. She hopes the program will help students get from point A to point B by reducing their carbon footprint and saving them gas money. Carter also plans to break ground on a community garden next month with harvests benefiting NSU students who need the food.
“A lot of students find themselves hit with charges that they didn’t know were coming right around the middle of the semester. I know this really well because I just finished seven years of higher education,” Carter said, who graduated in May from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. “I know the lament of someone who says my scholarship check hasn’t cleared. I can pay for books or buy food.”
Carter says students will sign a liability waiver and get a briefing on local bike laws before they leave the docking station at Wesley Campus Ministry, 520 University Parkway.
Over the weekend, more than 1,200 NSU students moved into residence halls. The fall semester begins today.