University of Vermont

Snowy Day

October 2012 Newsletter

In this month's issue:

UVM Bike Culture Continues to Grow

A chat with Jim Barr, Director of Transportation & Parking Services (TPS), paints a picture of progress when it comes to biking at UVM. Barr, an advocate for the creation of a bike-friendly campus culture, has initiated and supported a number of campus efforts. He took a moment to share with the Office of Sustainability just what that progress looks like.

How bike-friendly is UVM?

On October 10, 2011 UVM was selected as one of the nation's most "Bicycle Friendly Universities," an honor bestowed by the League of American Bicyclists. Luis Vivanco, a professor of anthropology at UVM, was instrumental in initiating and coordinating the application process. Vivanco is currenlty leading an effort to organize a UVM Bike Summit which will bring key stakeholders together in the near future for a networking and organizing event. There's room for improvement, with current efforts providing an opportunity for UVM to move up from the bronze-level awarded last fall. UVM will likely pursue the silver level in the coming year. 

What are students doing to promote biking on campus?

Bike Users Group logoA key player in UVM's bike community is the Bike Users Group (BUG), a student led group "dedicated to spreading the good word of bicycles." BUG administers a campus-wide bike share program available free to all UVM students, staff and faculty. There are currently three yellow hubs (McAuley on Trinity, Simpson on Redstone, and the Davis Center) with 17 white and green bikes. BUG recently solicited UVM's Police Services to give them abandoned bikes, which they will cannibalize to create new simple single speed bikes for the bike share program. By the end of the academic year at least 10 new bikes will be introduced to the bike share, as well as two new hub locations - probably Waterman and the Gutterson parking garage.

BUG also hosts a full-service bike repair shop, formerly housed at the loading dock at the Davis Center and currently closed. A recent process undertaken to identify a better location is nearing completion. Once the new site has been approved by Training and Compliance BUG will spruce up the space and move in. Shop hours will be twice a day during the week and maybe a window on Saturday. The shop offers students the space, tools, and knowledge to repair their bikes and get back on the roads.

Connect with BUG on facebook.

What about engaging UVM employees?

A workshop program hosted by UVM and co-sponsored by the Campus Area Transportation Management Association (CATMA), Champlain College, Fletcher Allen, and UVM offers lunch time lectures on bicycle commuting for employees. The well-attended workshops, presented by Local Motion, cover bicycle safety, address commuting routes and options, and provide lights and armbands to participants. Over the past two years six workshops have been offered: four 101 Workshops ("Getting Into Bicycling") and two 102 Workshops ("Building Street Skills"). The 102 Workshop provides the opportunity for participants to go for a ride to learn and practice techniques on the road. CATMA, who deserves much of the credit for making these workshops happen, and the workshop co-sponsors, will continue to offer these employee workshops in the future.

What other bike-friendly activities is UVM up to?

Dr. Your Bike and Helmet Sale
In September the semi-annual "Dr. Your Bike and Helmet Sale" held on Bailey Howe Green was a definite success. Helmets started at $10 and free safety gear and information was given out. The event is a collaboration between BUG, UVM, Local Motion, and a number of local sport shops. 

Bike fix-it stations coming!
Installation of three bicycle fix-it stations are in the works. Stations will be located on Redstone, Trinity, and near the Davis Center. Whether you need to change a tire or grease a chain all the tools you need will be in one place.

More bike racks on their way.
Transportation and Parking Services has purchased 10 new bike racks for installation around the UVM campus.

TAPSAC's BAG gets strategic.
What? The Transportation and Parking Services Advisory Council (TAPSAC) Bicycle Advisory Group (BAG) subcommittee is bringing together stakeholders in the UVM biking community to collaborate on a bike master plan. BAG is looking in to bringing in a consultant to assess the campus and provide some direction in order to develop a comprehensive plan for bicycle routes, hubs, and more.

- Tarah Rowse

"Biking for Compost" Pilot Program Expands!

An office compost collection partnership between UVM Recycling, One Revolution, and the Bike Users Group is moving forward with a late October program expansion. The pilot program conducted this past summer (2012) collected compostable food waste directly from 22 UVM buildings and offices. During the Pilot program, an average of 90-100 pounds of food waste per week was diverted from offices for composting. A user survey conducted in August showed strong program satisfaction with 94% of participants wishing to continue using the service in the future. One particpant stated, "We love the composting program! We are so happy to be able to divert so much waste out of landfills...Thanks for making this program so easy that employees are finding it a joy to participate."

UVM Recycling provides small compostable paper bags to participating offices to store food waste such as coffee grinds and banana peels. One Revolution provides the collection service, utilizing bicycles with pull-behind trailers to transport food waste to one central location on campus. From there, it is transported to Green Mountain Compost along with the other 9 tons per week of food leftovers that are collected from UVM Dining facilities.

UVM Recycling put out a call for additional participants in September, with 25 new offices expressing interest. Program leaders are currently in the process of identifying which offices are feasible to add to the bicycle route. As bags hold up to 7 lbs of food scraps and were not always full in the pilot, one likely program change will be a switch from twice weekly pick-up to once weekly, increasing program efficiency in terms of time and cost. One Revolution offers year round services regardless of weather so compost pick-up will continue through the winter.

Original UVM Communications announcement - June 18, 2012
USA Today College article - August 7, 2012

- Tarah Rowse

Clean Energy Fund 2012 Call for Ideas

The Clean Energy Fund annual Call for Ideas is open October 1 - November 15, 2012, and invites participation from students, faculty, and staff. If you have an innovative proposal focusing on renewable energy technology or education, consider submitting your idea! Past Clean Energy Fund projects include solar PV installations, research classes, and student internships.

The CEF generates $225,000 each year from student fees to implement renewable energy projects on campus, and has just completed a campus-wide renewable energy feasibility study. As the University moves towards climate neutrality, the Clean Energy Fund presents a unique opportunity for the university community to learn about renewable energy issues and technologies.

Submit your project ideas - and comment and vote on ideas - by visiting:

Clean Energy Futures Lectures/Workshops series is also accepting proposals:

Past CEF projects can be viewed here:

For more information, email: