NMU receives bike-friendliness award


TUNING UP—NMU bikers gather on the Academic Mall this fall to get their bikes checked out by caring experts and tune up their wheels. This day-long event is part of NMU’s bike week, an initiative focused on promoting sustainable transportation in Marquette.

Mary McDonough

Outdoor recreation at NMU is a staple recruiting tool, and it’s one factor gaining national recognition.

NMU was recognized as a Bronze-level Bike Friendly University on Tuesday, Oct. 17 by the League of American Bicyclists.

NMU’s Recreational Sports department, otherwise known as RecSports, Bike Manager Zack McClure explained that the process to get this national recognition has been a year in the making. Completing the application process alone included 100 hours of community service.

“This year we were given a bunch of surveys we had to have the students fill out,” McClure said. “Once we got all the surveys submitted, we finished the application process and just waited to see if we made the cut.”

In his work with RecSports, McClure explained that he takes care of everything bike-related, from fat tire bike rentals at the PEIF, to the library bike share program.

Among the list of things McClure manages are the many different events that come along with Bike Week, which involves five days of various bike related events. These events, which happen each semester, seek to push people toward sustainable transportation. 

Senior marketing major and EcoReps Recruitment Co-Chair Kyler Phillips explained that this award not only brings attention to RecSports and what they have to offer, but the award is also a step toward making student transportation more environmentally friendly.

“Bike Week is one of the major things that made this award happen. It shows that Northern is focusing on promoting sustainable transportation using bikes instead of cars and other ways to reduce our carbon footprint,” Phillips said. 

While sustainability is now a major interest point for NMU, this wasn’t always the case. With Marquette being such a nature-focused area, the university’s efforts toward sustainability can be taken for granted by people coming to the area. 

“I think a lot of students come to Northern thinking that since it is so far from everything else and is so involved in nature and the lifestyle, that the university is focused on sustainability,” Phillips said. “There is a lot going on that is good to see, but this is just the start.”

While this award shows a number of different benefits for the university concerning sustainability, it also moves forward the conversation of getting outside and exploring the Marquette community. 

“It’s a big stepping stone. Obviously it means that we’re a bike friendly university and we want people out and active,” McClure said. “We’re an active school, and trying to get more people out there riding their bikes and using what this city has to offer is a huge goal.”