Students from the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), Residential Safety Program (RSP) and the Department of Campus Recreation loaded 83 unclaimed bicycles onto a truck provided by the charity organization Pedals for Progress on November 1, 2017. Pedals for Progress repairs bikes to transport and donate to developing countries around the world.
Residential Risk Management, an office in the Division of Campus Residences, oversees bike management for the residential population at Stony Brook University. They monitor campus bike racks and facilitate the removal and storage of abandoned bikes. In recent years, University Police began to notice an increase in the number of abandoned bicycles left on campus. This phenomenon gave rise to Stony Brook’s Bicycle Registration Program wherein student residents can register their bikes through Residential Risk Management. Registering increases the likelihood that a lost or stolen bike can be located and provides contact information in the event of an abandoned bike. Once a significant time period for claim has exceeded, the bike is subject to being donated or disposed.
“These bikes go to places where dirt roads are the norm,” said Kathleen Valerio, Health Educator, Peer Education Program Coordinator and event co-coordinator. “We’ve heard stories of individuals who have been able to take a bike, get to a hospital that is four hours away by bike, but maybe 20 hours away by foot, pick up pharmaceuticals for a child that has an infection and save a child’s life.”
The bikes donated to Pedals for Progress are shipped to countries that use them as their primary mode of transportation. Many of these bikes aid in the industries of these countries, including transporting children to schools, located often times dozens of miles away. The 83 reclaimed bikes represent a substantial increase of last year’s successful inaugural event, which saw 47 bikes donated to Pedals for Progress. “The enthusiasm of the student organizations results in positive outcomes impacting thousands of lives, and that’s a powerful message,” continued Valerio.
“I’m very proud of what we do and the relationships that we have established with SHAC and Pedals for Progress,” said Shalvi Ashraf, Assistant Coordinator for Residential Risk Management. “We look forward to continuing our work with these organizations and to expand our program to reach the rest of the campus and continue making a positive impact in our community and the world.”
Funds were raised by a collaborative effort from Residential Risk Management, Campus Recreation, SHAC and the Division of Student Health, Wellness and Prevention Services to cover the cost of shipping the bicycles.
“To prepare a bike for shipment, we have to make the bike as small as possible. This means turning the bike handles so they are parallel to the wheel and removing the bike pedals to make the bikes compact,” said event co-coordinator Alyssa Fallon, a senior English major and Safety Assistant for Risk Management. “Personally, it is really nice to see all of the abandoned bikes go to someone in need, whose life can be changed as a result, especially when the majority of bikes just sit in storage unclaimed. Risk Management knew that we wanted to donate the bikes to charity, and it was really wonderful to see it happen.”