On Saturday, August 27, first-year students and faculty embarked on a 45-mile bike trek, traveling from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus to a small farm in Cary, Ill. On the trip, students carried small backpacks with waste from the “No Impact” dinner that took place after the First-Year Student Convocation the day before. The waste was then composted at the local farm.
The results of the ride? Between the 28 students that participated in the event, students biked more than 950 miles and only emitted 42 pounds of carbon dioxide. If they had each driven to Cary, they would have emitted more than 657 pounds.
The ride paralleled the theme of this year’s convocation events, which emphasizes Loyola’s mission to become a more eco-friendly university. Justin Daffron, S.J., associate provost of academic services, planned and participated in the bike ride himself. According to Fr. Daffron, the ride is only the beginning of conservation efforts at Loyola this year.
“This year we have made a commitment to reduce waste and to be as environmentally conscious as possible,” he says.
In addition to working with first-year students, the event partnered with another new Loyola endeavor. ChainLinks, the student-run bike rental and maintenance shop that launched this summer on the Lake Shore Campus, kindly supplied the bikes for the trip.
Spencer Schmid, a senior accounting major and president of ChainLinks, who helped lead the ride, said the experience was also a great opportunity for freshmen to meet other students who were passionate about the environment and biking. Though some students had to turn back at various points due to varying abilities and time constraints, Schmid says he still feels the experience had significance.
“I think for some students it was tough, but overall we just had a really enthusiastic group of people who were interested in making a difference,” he says. “It was hopefully something to remember four years later.”
In addition to biking, the students took the Metra back from Cary and the Red Line back to Loyola, which Schmid noted was a good way to introduce new students to the variety of transportation options available in and around the city of Chicago.
Though the goal was to make it all the way to Loyola’s retreat center in Woodstock, the ride was cut short because of time restraints. Regardless, Schmid says he was pleased with what had been accomplished and hopes to include ChainLinks in future “no impact” bike rides.
“We didn’t make it to LUREC, but still gained our goals. We made new friends, we composted the waste from the lunch, and we explored the greater area of Chicago,” he concludes.