Aside from the daily college grind – arise, hit the path to the lecture hall, library or cafeteria- repeat – how might mobility enhance the campus experience in new, creative ways?
That’s the question behind Ford Fund’s HBC-You Smart Mobility Challenge which invites historically black college and university staff and students to think differently about mobility on their respective campuses. Winners of the Challenge are awarded $25,000 for implementation, with the runner-up getting $10,000.
Dr. Desmond Delk, assistant professor in Health, Physical Education and Recreation, has been preaching the gospel of good health at Langston University in Oklahoma for quite some time. Already, the walking program he started a few years ago has moved staff and students alike outdoors for evening walks.
Along with building healthier bodies, the LU community has benefited from a greater sense of comradery. Still, when Dr. Belk heard about Ford’s challenge, he jumped at yet another chance to get the LU community moving.
Situated in a small town of about 1,500, Langston University’s main campus is the heart of the community.
Dr. Delk’s “Biking Across LU” program proposal gained traction to become the first winner of Ford Fund’s HBC-You Mobility Challenge in 2019. With the winning grant funds, the school purchased single-gear bicycles that are used to get students, staff and community members around campus. In addition, “Biking Across LU” will include:
- After work/school biking events
- Weekend biking through nature’s wonders
- Bicycle races
- Biking programs focused on cycling safety and maintenance.
“We’re thrilled and we’re excited,” said Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson, vice president of academic affairs, about winning the challenge. She says that the LU staff is “always excited to see what (Dr. Delk) will come up with next,” in his efforts to enhance health and fitness at the school.
Though Langston University won first place, Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M University earned distinctions as runners-up in this first round of the challenge.
Texas Southern’s Tiger Heart Tram Project provides shuttle service for disabled students, faculty and staff, and Prairie View’s Productive Mobility initiative is an Uber-inspired program that reduces carbon emissions by transporting students within a 25-mile radius of the university.
Learn more at fgb.life/hbc-you.