TORRINGTON – Students at Eastern Wyoming College now have a new mode of transportation around town and to classes in the fall thanks to a pilot bicycle program, the brainchild of EWC Director Kim Evezich; the bikes came from a bike drive the college held.
The idea came to Evezich when an international student contacted her about the lack of transportation available to students and she noticed other students were in the same situation.
“One called me and asked me to pick them up and take them downtown – they didn’t have any transportation,” Evezich explained.
It was then Evezich asked herself, “how can international students get around?”
Currently, Torrington does not offer a mass transit system nor did the college.
“If they (international students) didn’t call someone, how do students who don’t have a vehicle get around Torrington?” Evezich pondered. “Bicycles were the solution.”
In speaking to her colleagues, others agreed there needed to be an equitable solution for the students’ lacking transportation.
Evezich approached the Foundation Board and the EWC Board of Trustees with the idea to hold a bike drive for students to check them out when needed. She also asked members of the Torrington Rotary Club to go through their garages and donate any bicycles not being used.
“The bicycles are for any EWC student,” EWC Director of Institutional Development John Hansen said. Adding, “They can be checked out at the front desk of our dorms.”
Hansen explained, “she (Evezich) saw a need and it caught-on, and the philanthropic spark has breathed life into connecting our students with our community.”
Ultimately, the EWC Foundation purchased four new bikes and the Torrington Rotary Club donated seven used bicycles. Those bikes were taken to DG’s Bicycle Repair in Torrington to make them reliable and safe for student use.
“I put in thorn resistant tubes, cleaned the bicycles up and made any adjustments needed,” DG’s Bicycle repairman Dennis Grubbs detailed. “Those tires will not go flat from a goat head – I guarantee it.”
Initially the pilot project launched 10 days prior to the EWC graduation in May, however, it was well received by students that it will be continued into the fall.
“The program is excellent,” Hansen said. “I wasn’t certain how en vogue riding bicycles would be with the college students, but from the first day it surpassed my expectations.”
From day one, students were checking-out bicycles and getting out into the community,” Hansen said. “They were having dinner at our local restaurants and were using social media to catalog their experiences.”
In the fall, the bikes will be available for all students in need of transportation around the college campus and to other areas in Torrington.
“The bicycle project illustrates the impact that our Foundation Directors have on our students and community,” Hansen explained. “I look forward to where the project goes in the following years.”