By Patrick Kane
As president of the Cycling Club at VCU, Alan Hartmann has an eye for all things two-wheeled.
“Everywhere I look, I see something that encourages cycling,” he said. “I’ve been very impressed with VCU’s desire to have safe cyclists.”
The League of American Bicyclists agrees, awarding Virginia Commonwealth University silver-level recertification as a Bicycle Friendly University. VCU is the highest-ranked Virginia college or university under this program.
“We are very pleased to reach the silver-level distinction yet again, while still holding the highest rating of any university in the state of Virginia,” said Craig Willingham, fleet and interim transportation manager in the Office of Parking and Transportation. “The certification process is not easy, which is why I am proud of our team’s efforts and dedication to this process.”
VCU was first certified in 2012, and improved to silver in 2014.
RamBikes, part of Parking and Transportation, is a major contributor to VCU’s cycling culture. RamBikes offers a workshop at 201 N. Belvidere St., where students, faculty and staff can work on their bicycles and receive help from technicians. Technicians also conduct bike safety classes, group rides, maintenance clinics and safety checks. RamBikes also oversees the university’s bike share program, housed near the Cabell and Tompkins-McCaw libraries.
Hartmann cites the Outdoor Adventure Program as another campus resource supporting cyclists of all abilities and experience levels.
“If someone’s going to say they can’t ride a bike on this campus, it’s because they haven’t tried,” he said.
The nomination process included a community survey, published in TelegRAM, on the RamBikes website and shared on social media.
“We applaud this round of BFUs for raising the standard and being innovative in making bicycling a safe, convenient and enjoyable option for students, staff and visitors alike,” said Bill Nesper, programs director for the League of American Bicyclists.
“It means that we’re working together to make cycling safe and fun in the Richmond area.”
VCU cycling club members compete in the racing disciplines of mountain biking, cyclocross and road cycling, but also host weekly rides starting on campus. One matches the pace of the slowest participant, making it relaxed and all-inclusive. They also advocate for opportunities for all athletes in what is generally a male-dominated sport.
“We’re trying to break down some of the barriers that, for a long time, cycling has had up,” Hartmann said. The award is “a great draw for the campus and it’s a huge compliment to the students and the school. It means that we’re working together to make cycling safe and fun in the Richmond area.”
“We will continue to build on this momentum and work to create an even larger bike culture here at VCU,” Willingham said.
The certification speaks to VCU’s commitment to alternative transportation options for those traveling on and off campus, said Erin Stanforth, VCU’s director of sustainability.
“We are extremely proud to have this recognition. It further cements our commitment to alternative transportation,” she said. Parking and Transportation staff led the recertification process.
VCU’s Sustainability Plan outlines support for cycling and cycling infrastructure as a mean of reducing single-occupancy vehicle use. VCU also earned a silver rating from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating Systemin 2015, earning two of two possible points in the Support for Sustainable Transportation category.
VCU hosted the Bicycle Urbanism Symposium II in fall 2015, which focused on the urban planning, public policy and wellness ties cycling.
Perhaps the biggest event on two wheels hit campus last fall, the Richmond 2015 UCI road cycling championships. It drew hundreds of international cyclists to the city and inspired several cycling-themed 1-credit courses at VCU.
“I believe that the bike race really heightened awareness of alternative transportation, specifically bicycling, in Richmond,” Stanforth said. “Many neighbors, in and around VCU, are more comfortable with active cycling on a continuous basis.”
Hartmann said drivers across Richmond are aware of cyclists, which encourages more people to ride.
“We’re trying to bridge that gap to let everyone have a say at the table, and talk about the safety issues involved,” he said. “Richmond has a huge cycling community, and they are very supportive for each other and set good examples.”
The city of Richmond, which encompasses both of VCU’s campuses, is itself rated as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community. Current citywide plans include 10 potential projects to improve roads for cycling and pedestrian use.
For two weeks, Douglas Freeman students can enter an immersive portal and meet people around the world
It’s long been the stuff of science fiction: step into a portal and be instantly transported to the other side of the globe. And while students at Douglas S. Freeman High School won’t technically be leaving their Three Chopt Road campus, a new student-driven project might give them the next best thing.
It’s long been the stuff of science fiction: step into a portal and be instantly transported to the other side of the globe. And while students at Douglas S. Freeman High School won’t technically be leaving their Three Chopt Road campus, a new student-driven project might give them the next best thing. From Feb. 17 to March 1, students at the school will be able to step into an immersive, audio-visual chamber and interact with residents of Afghanistan, Uganda and other places far from Henrico County.
The Douglas Freeman portal is constructed from a repurposed steel shipping container, painted gold. It and similar portals are dimly lit and include a floor-to-ceiling screen, giving people at each location the illusion of being in the same room. The portal will sit at the front of campus, where the HCPS Technology and Facilities departments have run power and internet lines.
The portal, one of more than 60 worldwide, is the creation of Shared_Studios of Brooklyn, NY. Douglas Freeman students proposed bringing one of the portals to campus, and funding from the Henrico Education Foundation made it happen. The Foundation supports innovative teaching and learning in Henrico’s 72 schools and program centers.
“One of our roles as a school is to expose students to new ideas and different ways of thinking — to broaden their view of the world,” said John Marshall, Douglas Freeman principal. “The school’s diversity is a strength in this regard, and embracing that is one of our core values. The portal gives us the chance to do this at an even greater scope. It highlights the fact that we’re creating global citizens who learn much more than just facts and content during their time at DSF.”
Douglas Freeman is the first public school in Virginia to host a portal. Teachers plan to use the portal to add a new dimension to coursework. For example, Freeman students studying art, geometry and Spanish plan to talk with street artists using a portal in Mexico City, who use ratios in their designs. Photography students hope to learn from artists in a refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece, who use that medium to tell their stories.
The public is invited to use the portal on two successive weekends to interact with people in other nations:
- Feb. 22 (9-11 a.m. with Herat, Afghanistan; 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. with Mexico City)
- Feb. 23 (Noon-2 p.m. with an Erbil, Iraq camp for displaced persons)
- Feb. 29 (10-11:30 a.m. with Lagos, Nigeria; Noon-2 p.m. with El Progreso, Honduras)
- March 1 (Noon-2 p.m. with Kigali, Rwanda)
Find out more about the Douglas Freeman portal at freemanportal.org. A short video produced by Shared_Studios explains more about the project below.
The portal project is an example of the concepts laid out in the Henrico Learner Profile, the school division’s framework for the skills students need and how they can best attain them. It uses many concepts included in the Henrico Learner Profile, including global citizenship and the idea that learning should be student-owned, authentic, connected and take place anytime and anywhere.
Vaping is a growing problem in high schools, and HCPS is addressing it with a new workshop
At least one in 10 Henrico County young people have reported using an e-cigarette or vaping device, according to nonprofit advocacy group Henrico Too Smart 2 Start — and the popularity of vaping is increasing.
At least one in 10 Henrico County young people have reported using an e-cigarette or vaping device, according to nonprofit advocacy group Henrico Too Smart 2 Start — and the popularity of vaping is increasing. Register for Henrico County Public Schools’ Feb. 27 Vaping Prevention Workshop and get the facts about vaping from experts.
Find out what you can do to educate young people about the realities and health risks of vaping. Get resources and learn tips on how to talk about tobacco use. The workshop will feature representatives of the American Heart Association, the Virginia Department of Health Tobacco Control Program and Henrico Too Smart 2 Start.
It will be held on February 27th from 6:30 – 8:00 PM at the Varina Area Library at 1875 New Market Road.
The workshop is part of Henrico County Public Schools’ Family Learning Series. The series is presented by Henrico Schools’ Department of Family and Community Engagement. Workshops are held at public libraries and school facilities across Henrico County. To register for the vaping workshop, email email@example.com or call 804-652-3787. Teachers who attend will earn recertification points.
For details on the sessions, go to henricoschools.us and look under “Hot Topics” or go to https://henricoschools.us/family-learning-series-winter-spring-2020/.
The schedule is as follows:
- “Vaping Prevention Parent and Guardian Workshop” (Feb. 27 from 6:30-8 p.m.)
Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road, Henrico, Va. 23231
- “IEP 1, 2, 3!” (March 11 from 6:30-8 p.m.; sessions in English and Spanish)
Center for Global Citizenship at J.R. Tucker High School, 2910 Parham Road, Henrico, Va. 23294
- “LGBTQ+: Everyone Needs an Ally” (March 18 from 6:30-8 p.m.)
J.R. Tucker High School library, 2910 Parham Road, Henrico, Va. 23294
- “Raising Children: Parents, Where is Your Village?” (March 25 from 6:30-8 p.m.)
Fairfield Area Library, 1401 N. Laburnum Ave., Henrico, Va. 23223
- “Quality Time: How to Fit It In” (April 8 from 12:30-1 p.m.)
Online class (for information and a link to the workshop, email firstname.lastname@example.org)
- “Homework Help! Supporting Student Success” (April 22 from 6:30-8 p.m.)
Libbie Mill Library, 2100 Libbie Lake East St., Henrico, Va. 23230
To register, email email@example.com or call 804-652-3787.
University of Richmond Museums presents “A Competition in Prose, Poetry, or Images”
The exhibition is the first retrospective of German artist Fritz Ascher, comprising seventy paintings and works on paper, ranging from early academic studies and figural compositions to the artist’s late colorful, mystical landscapes.
The University of Richmond Museums presents Otherness: A Competition in Prose, Poetry or Images on Paper, specifically for high school students and presented in conjunction with the exhibition Fritz Ascher: Expressionist, currently on view at the Harnett Museum of Art. The exhibition is the first retrospective of German artist Fritz Ascher (1893-1970), comprising seventy paintings and works on paper, ranging from early academic studies and figural compositions to the artist’s late colorful, mystical landscapes.
The Fritz Ascher Society invites high school students to submit an essay of up to 500 words, a poem of up to two pages in length, or an artwork on paper (drawing, watercolor, gouache, or collage) that reflects on the theme of “otherness.” Fritz Ascher’s art and/or life will be the inspiration for the submission.
The winners of the competition will receive cash prizes and will be celebrated at an awards ceremony and reception on Monday, May 4, 2020, 6 p.m., at the Modlin Center for the Arts, University of Richmond. The winning entries will be exhibited for the program.
The jurors for the competition are Ori Z. Soltes and Rachel Stern, Fritz Ascher Society, and Richard Waller, Executive Director, University of Richmond Museums. The exhibition and programs are made possible in part with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund, Allianz Partners, Goethe Institut, and the Fritz Ascher Society.
Send submissions to:
The Fritz Ascher Society
Attention: Rachel Stern
121 Bennett Avenue, Suite 12A
New York, New York 10033
For questions and text submissions: firstname.lastname@example.org
The University Museums offer free tours for high school classes interested in visiting the exhibition. To book a tour, contact Martha Wright at email@example.com or call 804-287-1258.