Gonzaga’s Office of Sustainability is always working to improve the campus carbon footprint and promote sustainable options for students. From the addition of new waste bins on campus to decrease our trash output, to everyday tips and tricks it offers students on how to live a greener life, the office is always helping Zags be as eco-conscious as possible.
This year perhaps more than any other year we’ve seen the direct effects that carbon-based travel has on the atmosphere and climate, specifically the vast improvements on our planet when we decrease our carbon output. No matter how large or small an act of eco-consciousness is, it all helps improve the health of the climate and the air we breathe.
This is why the Office of Sustainability has put its energy toward encouraging students to find sustainable ways for travel, both on campus and off. A somewhat hidden gem of the office is the bike locker located right behind the Office of Sustainability house. Previously located at Welch Hall, it was moved in 2017 to the backyard right behind the space that the office uses.
“Its purpose has always been to be a place where students and staff could easily leave a bike during the course of the day,” said Karen Troxell, the commute trip reduction coordinator for the office, via email.
Students, employees and faculty alike are welcome to use the locker, but a passcode is required for entry and storage.
A quick survey is required to prove your affiliation with GU before you can get the passcode, after which you will receive an email to your GU address with the code. To access the survey there is a QR code that can be scanned at the entrance of the bike locker.
“The way the locker has been used in the past is students and employees leave their bikes inside while they go to class or work,” Troxell said. “There’s no rental process, and no one is guaranteed a spot in the locker. It operates on a first come first serve basis.”
In order to not limit the number of Zags who can use it, the bike locker does not serve as a long-term storage option. Rather, it is a great option for daily storage while you commute to and from class each day.
Another bonus is there is no fee that comes with using the bike locker. The office has made using the locker as accessible and easy as possible, to push for more Zags to opt for this greener mode of transportation.
Troxell and the other team members at the office are aware that there is already an established “bike culture” on campus, but more and more Zags are wanting to get in on this sustainable way to get around.
“Spokane has made strides in recent years towards becoming more bike-friendly by adding designated bike lanes in the downtown core, and people who live here and commute to Gonzaga for work need safe and accessible places to leave their bikes,” Troxell said.
Her hope is that in raising awareness about the locker it will encourage not only more GU students to hop on a bike, but also more staff and faculty to opt for this mode of transportation when heading to work each day.
“Bicycling has so many wonderful benefits for your personal health as well as the health of the environment we all live in,” Troxell said.
Mikaela Schlesinger with the Gonzaga Environmental Organization (GEO) agrees that the bike locker is a great resource on campus and aligns well with GU’s mission statement to care for the planet.
GEO and the Office of Sustainability works closely with one another and partner on many projects.
Schlesinger hopes that the more Zags learn about the locker, the more it will be utilized and thus the smaller the collective carbon footprint of GU will be.
Schlesinger said that 15% of GU’s carbon emissions come from transportation, a percentage that could easily be decreased if more Zags chose to bike to work or class, rather than take a car or bus.
“It’s so important to promote biking because it allows us to lower our carbon footprint,” Schlesinger said via email. “Biking is also a great for the health of the person and saves some money!”
Like the Office of Sustainability, GEO encourages sustainable travel as well. It has hosted “bike in” movies over earth week, as well as social media posts encouraging students to take advantage of the Lime Bikes offered on campus.
“Transitioning to green transportation is a very important and needed step in creating a sustainable future,” Schlesinger said.
Like Troxell, Schlesinger hopes more students will choose to utilize the bike locker.
“Many students live in the Logan, but still choose to drive to campus. Biking is so easy and saves on emissions. Another advantage is you don’t have to worry about parking,” Schlesinger said.
With many gyms closed or at low capacity, biking is also a great way to get some cardio in and break a sweat. Especially before the late winter snow hits Spokane and roads get too icy to bike on.
If you’re interested in learning more about either the Office of Sustainability or GEO, check out its website and social media profile to stay up to date on ways you can help create a greener community on campus.
And if you’re interested in checking out the bike locker, head on over to the Office of Sustainability located on 521 E. Sharp Ave.