For a bicycle friendly university in the western half of Virginia, you’ll have to visit Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Va.
In a statement released Oct. 24, the League of American Bicyclists conferred a bronze award on EMU, making EMU the third university in Virginia, following Virginia Commonwealth (silver award) and George Mason (also a bronze), to be recognized by the League as a bicycle friendly university.
From her office in Washington DC, Nicole Wynands, the League’s bicycle friendly America program specialist, said EMU was one of the smallest universities to compete for the award. Of the 44 universities on the “BFU Master Award List,” EMU and one other university (Chatham in Pittsburgh) are the only small, private institutions. Grand award winners are Stanford (platinum) and two branches of the University of California, at Davis and at Santa Barbara (both gold).
A total of 41 universities have earned silver and bronze awards, almost all of them being large state-supported institutions, such as the Colorado State University, Oregon State University, the University of Maryland at College Park, Michigan State University and Florida State University. EMU earned a spot among the 25 bronze honorees for creating a culture in which faculty, staff and students see bicycling as the norm. EMU’s steps include removing on-street parking spaces to set up a bicycle lane, putting bike racks in and storage areas around campus, having a bicycle coop for bike repair, and collecting recycling with a bicycle-pulled trailer.
The University of Virginia also applied for an award from the League and was granted an “honorable mention” for 2012-13.
“October 24 is also Campus Sustainability Day 2012,” said Andrea Wenger, EMU director of marketing and communications. “Receiving the bicycle-friendly award on this particular day points to EMU’s commitment to reducing the use of fossil fuels and improving the sustainability of our campus as well as the health of our people.”
More information about the bicycle league and its awards can be found at www.bikeleague.org.