04/23/07

Nearly 100 students, faculty members and Lamorinda community members bicycled to campus on April 18 in support of "Pedal for the Planet" and Earth Day. It was the second year that Saint Mary's sponsored the event to promote the bicycle as a healthy, fun and practical alternative to the automobile.

"I think there was a really positive vibe at 'Pedal,'" said Jason Martin, senior member of the cycling team. "It was a noticeable event on campus, and I hope it continues to grow."

"Pedal for the Planet" featured a free breakfast and T-shirts for the cyclists, an afternoon raffle for an iPod nano and a free barbecue for everyone who rode to campus. It was followed by an environmental fair featuring organizations including 511.org, the countywide transportation agency, and World Bicycle Relief.

"I thought it was a very successful day," said junior cyclist Casey DeGolia. "We got a lot of information out to a lot of students who usually drive in. With global warming and everything it's important that we make people aware of their impact on the environment."

One way people at "Pedal for the Planet" were able to see their effect on the earth was by taking a questionnaire measuring their "carbon footprint." Information about recycling and other ways to minimize human impact on the environment was also available at the event.

Students from the Saint Mary's Cycling Club and Project Green spent two months organizing "Pedal for the Planet," which is inspired by the national Bike-to-Work Day held each May.

"What the day was all about was opening people's eyes to their impact on the planet, and how to make it better," said Assistant Registrar Bill Sullivan, who helped plan the event. "We want to work to make the earth better for future generations. We want people in the future to be able to look at this green grass."

Last year's event was inspired by a project in a public relations class designed to help foster a bike culture on campus. Plans for the third "Pedal for the Planet" have already begun, and Sullivan is working with UC-Davis and UC-Berkeley on getting a "National Bike-to-School Day" started.

"[I hope students see] cycling as an example of a healthy means of transportation for body and planet in our beautiful locale," Sullivan said. "It is a window into the possibilities we, you and I can make in safeguarding the planet for future generations. Safeguarding the planet certainly is aligned with our mission at Saint Mary's."

--Kevin Damore
Office of College Communications

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