By Cecilia Cress and Olivia Montes
On Oct. 26, the Washington College Student Government Association Environmental Committee was reported discussing progress on the Bike Share app.
According to the WC website, the College’s Bike Share Program “is a program run by the SGA to give students free access to bicycles while the school year is in session.”
“It’s definitely a tool and a resource that we want a lot of students to be able to take advantage of, especially for students who don’t have cars or simple transportation,” Director of Student Engagement Antoine Jordan said.
In further collaboration with Makers’ Union, led by junior and Makers’ Union co-president Seyed Marjaei, a demonstration of the app to both SGA and the Environmental Committee was issued earlier in the fall semester.
According to SGA Secretary of the Environment and senior Alexa Venturato, the app was designed to help make the original process of the Bike Share program “[less] clunky.”
“The way that the Bike Share app works is it allows students to be connected to bikes much quicker,” she said.
According to the WC website, students have access to the available fleet of bikes for the entire semester once registered for the Bike Share program. Previously, to check out a bike, students would have to complete a printed check-out form available on the program webpage and return it to the Office of Student Engagement in Hodson Hall. Once registering the following information, including the student’s name, ID number, bike number, helmet taken, and dates checked out and to be returned, students could use their bikes for up to a week before returning it to the Bike Share rack outside Hodson. Now, that process will be streamlined and more efficient for students to use.
“I hope that the campus knows that this is going to be like a really good app for the community [and] going to be very helpful,” Venturato said. “It’s a great way for us to maintain our sustainability initiatives, and it’s going to be able to connect people to the community around WC as well as the Chestertown community because they’re going to be able to travel more…in an environmentally friendly and convenient way.”
With this collaboration, according to Venturato, both SGA and Makers’ Union aim to release the app at the beginning of the spring 2022 semester. They are planning more meetings and to undergo a test run near the end of the fall 2021 semester. Additional meetings will address additional concerns raised regarding the app, including that of security, according to Venturato.
Venturato said that the app will provide many security features to ensure that students’ identities are protected. In addition to only being available to WC email accounts and within WC Wi-Fi networks, the app will also prohibit screenshots.
According to Venturato, a committee is also in the works to address any potential issues that may arise, such as bugs in the software, adding new bikes into the system, and abuses of the application.
“I really hope that the Bike Share system becomes another integrated part of our campus culture,” Jordan said. “I think the idea of having an app, [seeing that] we use our phones and apps for so many things right now. I think it’s a great…resource to use the technology we already have in place and have the capacity to use, but to use it for something that is for us here on our campus.”
Photo by Jakob Watt
Photo Caption: In a mission to encourage sustainability, the Washington College Student Government Association Environmental Committee and Makers’ Union continue discussions and progress of the campus-wide Bike Share app.