by James A. Baumann
Campus roadways can sometimes be a battle for
space between the four-wheeled and two-wheeled forces. The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) makes the case for their
side with their annual Bicycle Friendly University application process. The program, part of their larger Bicycle Friendly America initiative, is
“designed to yield a holistic picture of an applicant institution's work to
promote bicycling on campus and in the surrounding community.” The application
asks campuses to provide a profile of their climate, topography, and culture along
with evidence of the ways they support cyclists and cycling. These efforts are
categorized into what they call “the 6 Es”: engineering; education;
encouragement; enforcement; evaluation and planning; and equity, diversity, and
inclusion. Most questions are multiple-choice, but write-in fields can be used
to provide more details.
Currently, there are 208 Bicycle
Friendly Universities in the United States. The eight campuses that have
achieved Platinum status are Colorado
State University; Portland State University; Stanford University; University of
California, Davis; University of California, Irvine; University of California,
Santa Barbara; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The LAB category in which housing can play
the greatest role is engineering, which focuses on creating safe and convenient
places to ride and park. On a growing number of campuses, the traditional
bicycle racks outside a residence hall are being supplemented with interior
bicycle storage areas. As the criteria state, “The most visible and perhaps
most tangible evidence of a great place for bicycling is the presence of
infrastructure that welcomes and supports it. . . . Secure, convenient and readily available bike
parking is also a key component.”
Bicycle Friendly University
applications are open until October 20. More information is available online.
Just because students had to
leave residence halls due to the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t mean a housing
department’s work is done. One example of continuing efforts to support
students is a pilot program at the University of Cape Town in South Africa that
used positive peer pressure to help students stay engaged with their school
work even after they had to move off campus.
Sean Abrahams, the residence life division’s senior
coordinator for learning and innovation, noted in an article on the campus’s
website that the staff recognized that they needed "innovative ways to reinforce
and support self-directed and remote learning.” In the program, students sign
up online and are paired randomly. Then, via email, they identify shared goals
and challenges as well as how they will interact (texting and social media, not
surprisingly, beat out email) and how often. Abrahams notes that the program
can work regardless of what subjects the study buddies are studying. “It
doesn’t matter if students are not in the same faculty, as the programme
differs from mentoring or tutoring. The aim is that students share and engage
on their weekly learning or academic goals.”
The program also draws on the WOOP framework (wish, outcome,
obstacle, plan). “The application of WOOP within the Study Buddy program asks
each peer study buddy to identify an academic goal for the day or week, the
outcome, obstacles and plans to overcome that obstacle,” says Abrahams. “Study
buddies will share and reflect on their WOOPs and encourage one another to
reach their goals.”
• In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, greater
attention is being given to air quality and filtration systems. As one example,
at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, more than 2,000 antimicrobial devices
will be installed in select residence hall rooms. The Sphere, produced by
Synexis, was chosen after a 30-day test resulted in a 78.6% reduction in
surface contaminants, and air sampling showed that colony-forming units were eliminated.
The device produces what it calls Dry Hydrogen Peroxide to reduce viruses,
bacteria, and fungi. It works by converting humidity and oxygen into DHP which
attaches to microorganisms to naturally break them down as well as reducing
odor and repelling insects.
• American Campus Communities
recently released its 2019 Environmental, Social & Governance Update.
Among the accomplishments highlighted, the company retrofitted 125 communities with best
practices related to sustainability, formed a long-term partnership with the "Hi, How Are You Project" to tackle issues of mental health among college
students, and increased the diversity of its board of directors. The full report is available online.
• Sauder Education unveiled a new furniture
line designed for use in common areas or students’ individual rooms. Called
Chill, it is now available through the company’s website.
• Skyfactor and eRezLife Software announced a new partnership last month. The two companies will focus on delivering joint materials to student housing and residence life professionals, designed to help communicate the value of campuses' efforts to their various constituents. Read the full announcement.