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UMN Morris and Regional Fitness Center Partnership Brings Electric Bikes to Campus and Community

Author: 
Lily Sugimura ’22
Publication date: 
October 19, 2021

Clare Sorensen shows two people how to use the e-bikes.

In 2019 the University of Minnesota Morris Office of Sustainability (OOS), Morris Campus Student Association (MCSA), and the Regional Fitness Center (RFC) partnered to purchase two electric bikes, introducing a healthy and sustainable means of transportation to the campus and community.

The e-bikes “provide a sustainable resource to students, both a resource for transportation and recreation” and “introduce the idea of e-mobility and what the clean energy future will look like to students and community members,” explained former MCSA President Samuel Rosemark ’21.

Many students were involved in the purchasing and implementation process, including OOS interns who designed the e-bike program and wrote the proposal. OOS interns did research to determine systems for e-bike battery usage, rental policies, user manuals, and maintenance. The proposal was considered for MCSA’s Tech Fee allocation.

Once the e-bikes were purchased and on campus, RFC agreed they would oversee the day-to-day e-bike operations, including rentals and maintenance. E-bikes are free of charge for UMN Morris students and $10-an-hour for the Morris community. Upkeep involves charging the e-bikes after each use and making sure that the tires and electrical parts are aligned and tightened.

E-bikes are not available when there is snow on the ground, but during the outdoor season, the e-bikes are reserved several times a week.

The e-bikes have made a positive impact on the campus and community. RFC Membership Coordinator Clare Sorensen shared, “Electrifying transportation is becoming more and more important. E-bikes are an awesome way to do that here in Morris. It’s catching on already. It’s a great way to introduce the community to another way that UMN Morris is trying to promote and bring in sustainability efforts, in addition to wind turbines and solar panels.”