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Innovation Grants at UNK

By John Anderson, University of Nebraska at Kearney

In the fall of 2009, ADP at the University of Nebraska at Kearney began a grant program that awards funds to students who plan to engage in activities that improve the campus and community. Successful proposals had to show they would make a positive impact and had to provide evidence of collaboration with other student organizations.

The program provided four projects with grants of about $500 each. The initial grant recipients were treated as pilots and considerable leniency was provided them. In the end, we saw students complete a toiletry drive for the Nebraska AIDS Project, host a Green Fair on Earth Day and launch our Recycled Cycles project. The final project will take place in the fall when students return to campus and it will introduce students to our community citizen advocacy program.

Recycled Cycles is an attempt to provide bicycles across campus for free use. The student groups working on the project were our Student Government and the S.I.F.E. (Students in Free Enterprise) team. To begin, the student groups collected bicycles from Public Safety that had been left on campus. The students stripped and painted the bicycles in school colors and then brought them to a local bike shop (The Bike Shed) to have the bicycles prepared for campus use.

Bicycle repairs were the most costly part of the project, because the bikes were over-hauled for long-term use on campus. We also installed low-cost coaster breaks, in an effort to control costs later. The Bike Shed also removed all but one gear in order to make them campus-use vehicles.

In the long run, we expect to provide as many free-use bicycles on campus as we find need for them. ADP also expects to use the bikes for promoting engagement and civic ideals.

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