Monday, 14 May 2012

Graduation & Summer Bike Bugs

Bicycling bug! (Praying mantis on fiddle head fern) Via

For Virginia Tech graduates the summer is finally here and the real world, getting a job, is the next 'To Do' before leaving Blacksburg forever. Luckily, I was able to walk for graduation and I'll be in Berlin this summer, taking the last class I need to receive my German minor. As such, I'll be back in Europe where my inspiration for successful cycling cultures is real and captivating.

Many people have asked what was my motivation for organizing Blacksburg Cycle Chic. To clarify, I focused my graduation personal statement on how I got to where I am. The following was read at the Science and Technology Studies graduation ceremony:

Entering Virginia Tech as a sophomore transfer student from JMU, Lyndsay first learned of the Humanities, Science and the Environment major through Earth Sustainability. The four semester long program fostered an ecologically conscious learning community where Lyndsay, with her love of biology, thrived. Impelled to take action, Lyndsay became a passionate, campus sustainability leader. A few of her highlights include serving as the Environmental Coalition Vice President from 2009-2010, building momentum behind VT’s Climate Action Commitment and organizing Power Shift Summits for the YouthClimate Movement. She also attended the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Change Convention in 2009 with the Sierra Student Coalition Delegation. There, she mobilized grassroots efforts to push the new Obama Administration to commit to equitable carbon reductions and a climate treaty. Frustrated with the International Copenhagen Accord which promised minimal action on climate change, Lyndsay shifted her sustainability efforts to alternative transportation and urban planning. As a triathlete and cyclist on the Virginia Tech teams, Lyndsay embraced the opportunity to encourage bicycle transportation among students to get people out of their cars. Two years later, Lyndsay has blogged, presented and participated at numerous bicycle and pedestrian planning conferences as VT’s first Alternative Transportation Intern. While studying abroad in Switzerland last spring, Lyndsay was able to see successful cycling cultures firsthand and attended Velo-city Seville (Spain) with the League of American Bicyclists, with whom she networked during the previous fall at Pro Walk Pro Bike 2010. Inspired by Copenhagen Cycle Chic (and that’s pronounced sch-eek, as in style), a famous street style photography blog and global movement that celebrates everyday people bike commuting, Lyndsay came back to the States with keen ambition to transform Blacksburg into a bicycle friendly community. Just last week, Lyndsay, Student Government Association Transportation Director, put on the culminating event of her environmental activism. Blacksburg Cycle Chic –Commuter Celebration and Fashion Show showcased local groups striving towards regional transportation sustainability and active lifestyles while revealing bicycle heros in our Hokie Nation. The night was moving, successful and inspired people to rediscover their bikes for transportation. Lyndsay’s undergraduate research: The Role of the American Bicycle Girl – An Indicator of Healthy U.S.Cities towards Sustainable Mobility, serves as another creative outlet where Lyndsay is actively bridging concepts of womens mobility, bicycle transportation and sustainability. Lyndsay believes the importance of empowering women to bicycle cannot be understated in today’s world of seven billion people, uncontainable pollution from cars, congestion, dangerous streets and disappearance of active transportation lifestyles. She believes empowering women to bicycle can lead to environmentally conscious mobility, increased health amongst an obesity epidemic and sustainable transportation for future generations.

As you can tell, the HSE major has enabled driven students like Lyndsay to excel in the wider Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, National and International communities as a change agent. She has experienced a rich and vibrant academic career at Virginia Tech and is excited to complete her German minor this summer. With an affectionate love of traveling, Lyndsay will spend 8 weeks abroad in Berlin, Germany at the Freie University of Berlin. She is ready to leave her Blacksburg home and friends, embarking upon a new journey. In the fall, Lyndsay hopes to become a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator and urban planner.


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