In 2012 when Gustavus Adolphus College administrators were negotiating a new contract with major beverage providers, Director of Dining Service Steve Kjellgren asked potential providers to get creative with their proposals. The result was an agreement with Coca-Cola, which included in its proposal $20,000 in grant money for each year of the contract. The funding is available for projects initiated by departments, programs, campus-wide initiatives or advocacy groups that focus on enhancing sustainability and community health, with priority given to student-focused initiatives.
Nine different projects were funded during the 2012-13 academic year with initiatives including a Wellbeing Fair, the purchasing of yoga mats, peer health coaching, and a new shed for Big Hill Farm. The largest amount awarded was $6,500, which went to senior students Samantha Good and Katie Barta for their proposal regarding several biking initiatives on campus.
The project stemmed out of Barta and Good’s environmental studies senior seminar class – a capstone course for environmental studies majors that culminates with student research projects.
“We wrote a group paper that included several ideas about how Gustavus could become a more sustainable community through biking initiatives,” Good said. “We were encouraged by our professors Jeff Jeremiason and Jim Dontje to apply for money through the Coca-Cola Educational Partnership to help make some of the goals in our project become reality.”
The funding of Barta and Good’s proposal resulted in several positive outcomes for the Gustavus community. A new bike repair station is now located in the area adjacent to Lund Center, the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center and the Johns Family Courtyard. The repair station includes many tools, including an air pump, that bicyclists can now utilize at their convenience. The repair station also includes a scannable barcode that will allow smartphone users to upload how-to videos.
In addition to the repair station, seven new bike racks will soon be installed at various locations around campus. The unique design of the new bike racks will enhance security for bicyclists and also accommodate a wider range of tire sizes.
As a result of Barta and Good’s work, Gustavus has been named a Bronze Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists.
“College campuses are natural places to integrate bicycling – and Gustavus recognizes the small steps needed to make bicycling a safe and easy option for students and staff,” League President Andy Clarke said. “Young people are driving less and riding more, and Gustavus has embraced that trend.”
Barta, who lived off-campus this year and started biking to and from campus, says that being recognized as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists will be an advantage for future Gustavus students.
“We’re the first school in the MIAC to be certified bicycle friendly and just the second school in Minnesota along with the University of Minnesota,” Barta said. “The League of American Bicyclists has an interactive website and they will also provide resources to bikers as well as feedback to students on what else can be done on campus to become more bicycle friendly.”
Both Barta and Good will be graduating on June 2. Barta will earn her bachelor’s degree in both biology and environmental studies, while Good is also a double major in both Spanish and environmental studies. Both agree that the Environmental Studies Program at Gustavus is one they would recommend to current and prospective students.
“The professors in the program have really pushed us to believe in the change that we can make now,” Barta said. “We can’t just think about it and learn about it, but we have to actually go out and make these changes.”
“Every professor I’ve had in the Environmental Studies Program has been really passionate about teaching students that how we interact with the Earth is important,” Good said.
After graduation, Barta plans to work at Abbott Northwestern as a medical scribe for a year before pursuing medical school. Good will be continuing her studies in Spanish literature next fall at the University of Illinois.
More About the Coca-Cola Educational Partnership
Application materials for the $20,000 annual Gustavus Coca-Cola Educational Partnership grant funding are now available online. Eligible applicants include existing student groups whose staff or faculty advisors agree to provide project oversight; classes and their instructors; and individual students working with faculty or staff supervision.
A grant review committee composed of Gustavus faculty, students, and administrative staff along with representatives from Coca-Cola Refreshments started accepting applications beginning May 1, 2013 and will continue to do so through November 1, 2013. Announcement of awardees will begin November 15, 2013.
Detailed funding materials including application information, grant categories, budget forms, and submission-reporting contact information can be found online at gustavus.edu/diningservices/grantform.php. Questions can be directed to Kjellgren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin