Eastern Wyoming College students provided bikes to get around town and to class in the fall |
A. Marie Hamilton Torrington Telegram Via Wyoming News Exchange
TORRINGTON — Students at Eastern Wyoming College now have a new mode of transportation around town and to get to class in the fall thanks to a bike pilot program, the brainchild of CEE director Kim Evezich. The bikes came from a bike ride organized by the college.
The idea came to Evezich when an international student contacted her about the lack of transportation available to students and she noticed that other students were in the same situation.
“One of them called me and asked me to pick them up and take them downtown – they had no transport,” she explained.
It was then that Evezich wondered, “How can international students get around?
Currently, Torrington does not offer a public transit system, nor does the college.
“If they (international students) haven’t called someone, how do students who don’t have a vehicle get around Torrington?” she reflected. “Bicycles were the solution.”
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Speaking to his colleagues, others agreed that a fair solution should be found for students missing transport.
Evezich approached the CEE Foundation Board and Board of Directors with the idea of organizing a bike ride for students to check on them when needed. She also asked Torrington Rotary Club members to visit their garages and donate unused bikes.
“The bikes are for all CEE students,” said CEE Institutional Development Manager John Hansen. “They can be checked at the reception of our dorms.”
“She (Evezich) saw a need and it caught on, and the philanthropic spark brought our students’ connection to our community to life,” he added.
In the end, the EWC Foundation purchased four new bikes and the Torrington Rotary Club donated seven used bikes. These bikes were taken to DG’s Bicycle Repair in Torrington to make them reliable and safe for students.
“I put on thorn-resistant tubing, cleaned the bikes and made any necessary adjustments,” explained DG bike repairman Dennis Grubbs. “These tires won’t fall flat out of a goat’s head – I guarantee it.”
Initially, the pilot project was launched 10 days before the CEE graduation in May, but students welcomed the fact that it will continue in the fall.
“The program is great,” Hansen said. “I wasn’t sure how popular the bike would be with students, but from day one it exceeded my expectations.”
From day one, students were checking bikes and going out into the community,” he said. “They were dining at our local restaurants and using social media to catalog their experiences.”
In the fall, the bikes will be available for all students requiring transportation to the college campus and to other areas of Torrington.
“The bike project exemplifies the impact our Foundation trustees have on our students and our community,” Hansen explained. “I can’t wait to see where the project goes in the years to come.”