After arriving at Kirkwood from Indonesia, I realized that international students here, especially the J1 Visa Students, which include Community College Initiative Program (CCIP) students, didn’t have any transportation to campus due to their visa regulations, which forbid the students from having driver’s licenses in the United States.
My personal experience of having a car made me reluctant to ride a bus. I decided to partner with Molly Schwarz, director of the Campus Academic Advising Center, to create a bike share program.
Molly taught English, Journalism and ESL at an international school in Kobe, Japan, and she realized while in Japan that riding a bike was the best way for her to cope with her situation of missing home. She was able to ride her bike to and from the bus station and explore rural areas that are farther from the train station. She was able to go into the mountains, to church and to American restaurants to feel more at home, just by riding her bike.
This is why we created the Bike-Share Project in conjunction with Kingdom Community Center, an organization that supports, guides and inspires youth in Cedar Rapids.
The center has a project that focuses on renting, selling and fixing bikes for the community. In these upcoming weeks, we will do fundraising for this project.
One of the international students at Kirkwood we interviewed said, “The city should be more inclusive when thinking about [changing the bus] schedule because some students don’t have the opportunity to drive to school and would miss the bus once in a while.” The changes to the schedule of the city bus are a disaster for students, especially those who have classes at Washington Hall or The Hotel at Kirkwood.
Elizabeth O’Brien, program coordinator for Global Learning, stated the bike-share project is “easy and environmentally friendly.” She mentioned the Sustainability Club at Kirkwood will be a part of this project and is willing to help with finding storage for the bikes.