Rich Thompson shares his thoughts on the W&M Bike Initiative and #NoTitleNeeded
Today’s Guest Blogger for #NoTitleNeeded is our colleague Rich Thompson. Many of us know Rich from his dedicated professional service as part of the Sadler Centers Staff. But today we asked him to share about the W&M Bike Initiative. The W&M Bike Initiative is a project spurred by a passion to help our students develop a cycling culture that will better connect them to our beautiful and cycling friendly community.
When asked to write a Blog/post about this project as part of the #NoTitledNeeded campaign, my first reaction was ‘Wow!’ My second thought was how do I summarize all that has been accomplished and also provide some insight to what the future might hold for the W & M Bike Initiative? However, more importantly, how do I express how much this project has cultivated leadership for me personally and with those connected to it?
So, I think the best place to start is to share a bit of what has been accomplished and what is hoped for in the forthcoming years;
To date we have accomplished the followings items:
- Installed (4) bike fixit/pump stations across campus.
- Upgraded and expanded our bike racks throughout campus.
- Organized a successful bike buy-back program of used/abandoned bikes and a free bike helmet giveaway.
- Create a William & Mary Bike Initiative Informational Webpage providing users with helpful resources for biking in our area, bicycling laws, and safety tips.
- Developed a series of orientation rides to expose the W & M community to Williamsburg & James City County’s extensive bike paths, lanes, & networks.
- Established a (1) credit 6 week educational course in the Department of Kinesiology with a focus on bicycle safety, rules of the road, basic maintenance, and the health/wellness benefits from cycling.
- Currently we are conducting research supported by a faculty member to determine what type of a bike share, rental, or lease program would be most appropriate for the W & M community.
Here is what we have forthcoming and what we hope to accomplish in the future:
- Installation of more appropriate informational signage and road sharrows throughout campus to foster “Share the Road” concept with cyclists and to provide informational guide markers to better connect W & M cyclists to the City of Williamsburg’s and James City County’s extensive trails/networks.
- Installation of more bike fixit stations.
- The acquisition and installation of more upgraded bike racks and the inclusion of covered bike racks.
- Educational guests speakers and programs.
- Continuation of recreational rides and the potential development of signature cycling events for the college and the Williamsburg communities.
- A bike share, rental, or lease program supported by a potential W & M bike shop on campus.
As you can imagine, accomplishing what we have so far and what we hope to accomplish has taken leadership and vision by so many within our W & M community. Therefore, I would be remiss not to highlight these individuals in particular for their leadership has been truly inspirational.
Brianna Buch & Gabriel Morey – These two students in particular are the heart and soul of the William & Mary Bike Initiative. They have been the driving force of the project and they have inspired so many to join in support with their passion, including myself.
Mr. Bill Horacio, Director Parking & Transportation Services – Bill has been the linchpin and the navigator of the initiative. Without his guidance and his eye for detail, this project might have floundered without his diligence of keeping things on track!
Dr. Kelly Crace, Associate Vice President for Health & Wellness, Director of Health Promotion – Kelly has been instrumental in connecting the bike initiative to the efforts of the Division of Student Affairs and personally laying the foundation for establishing the credited course offered in the Department of Kinesiology.
Dr. Catherine Forestell, Associate Professor/Dept. of Psychology – Cathy has been the lead faculty member in organizing the research for evaluating what type of bike share, rental, or lease program that the college should consider implementing. Cathy’s infectious passion for research has enthused the students that are conducting the research under her guidance.
Mr. Michael Fox, Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Visitors – Michael has helped sculpt the committee of the William & Mary Bike Initiative and has acted as the ultimate advisor.
However, the things that I am personally proud of have been my role as a mentor to the students of this project and bringing in members of the W & M and the local community to help support/market the initiative. In both of the aforementioned areas, this project has provided me a unique opportunity to share my expertise of the cycling movement on college/university campuses and in local communities across the country. Consequently, at times I have found myself advising upper level administrators or faculty on potential courses of action that should be considered as we move the William & Mary Bike Initiative forward. I have found this very exciting and humbling, for as the Associate Director for Sadler & Campus Centers one my of primary roles is to provide support and service for others in the William & Mary community and not necessarily help lead such a project that could conceivably impact future generations of the William & Mary community.
Naturally, I feel extremely fortunate to serve The College of William and Mary and its students and being associated with this project has only deepened that appreciation! Consequently, I truly believe if you have a vision and if it truly supports the students and benefits the college, anyone can truly be a leader here, no matter your title!