ISU class presents beginning designs, plans for upcoming bike share program


Jen Hao Wong/Iowa State Daily

Mike Witzmann, Joe Craig-Ferraz, Geoff Declouet and Kenny Nguyen present their CyShare biking system for Iowa State on March 28 in the industrial design student space of the Armory.

William Dyke

On March 28 three groups of students unveiled their plans for a future bike share program at Iowa State.

With funding by the Government of the Student Body and support from the Office of Sustainability, a special class of students has worked to create an effective bike share program for ISU students. 

The program would allow students to check out a bike from a back rack, ride it across campus and return it to another bike rack. 

“We funded a class to study, research and design a bike share system at a very low cost, utilizing the passion and creativity of students,” Michael Hoefer, GSB director of student affairs, said. “We are confident that students will be able to create a cost effective design.”

Sen. Michael Plantenberg says this semester’s class is for designing and planning. Next year is when proposals are to be drafted. Hoefer said that is when GSB will consider long-term funding for the system.

Sen. David Parkinson, one of many GSB members who viewed Friday’s presentations, said he was very impressed with the projects. He hopes that the groups will continue to refine their proposals to be as efficient, time and resource-wise, as possible.

“I really support it. I see it as a sustainability project that will affect a lot of students,” Parkinson said.

Merry Rankin, ISU director of sustainability, offered comments on the program and the Office of Sustainability’s outlook on Iowa State’s sustainable future.

“From what I did see, students were very creative, very committed, thoughtful and thinking very critically,” Rankin said.

Rankin says that the project has been a student interest for years and that GSB, headed by President Spencer Hughes and Vice President Hillary Kletscher, has been working closely with the Office of Sustainability and Dr. Thomas Hill, senior vice president of student affairs, as well as garnering student and administrative input.

Rankin said that that project, however, is still too early to give an exact date on when it will be implemented.

“There’s a lot of components to look at,” Rankin said. “This program is a unique, hands-on student approach, and different resources, assistance and funding will be needed.”

Rankin discussed the office’s goals for the program and noted that the Office of Sustainability is looking at the impact on the environment and how Iowa State can help lessen that impact. She also noted that Ames is considered a “blue zone” in terms of wellness and longevity and that this bike share program would give students and faculty more opportunities to be active.

“In looking at ISU as an institution, while students are here we want to provide a rich experience,” Rankin said. “We want to give students a different experience to engage in sustainability.”