Program peddling bikes for fall semester

September 9, 2014 | UToday
By Lindsay Mahaney

Rocket ReCycle, a program started by Director of Experiential Education Peter Thomas three years ago, is continuing to grow this fall with 30 student bike recipients to be announced Friday, Sept. 12.

Pete Thomas, who started Rocket ReCycle, handed a bike helmet to student Ivan Tkachenko.

Pete Thomas, who started Rocket ReCycle, handed a bike helmet to student Ivan Tkachenko.

Previously, the program loaned bicycles to several international students for a semester. However, with a donation from Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design, the program is able to offer 30 bicycles — 15 for international students and 15 for domestic students, all without cars — in an effort to reduce traffic congestion, parking issues and gas emissions on campus.

Students can apply for a bike by filling out an application online at

Students are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis and are required to pay a $50 security deposit. If they return the bike in good condition at the end of the semester, students can get their money back, Thomas said. Bicycle recipients also are required to watch several safety videos once they are selected.

Sustainability Specialist Brooke Mason said she became interested in Rocket ReCycle because she thought it was a great effort to make UT’s campus more environmentally friendly.

Donations through the Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design fund at the UT Foundation are providing the money to purchase new bikes, as well as to repair the program’s older bikes, she said.

In addition to being a means of transportation, Thomas said students have told him that the bikes aided in their success in school.

Former bicycle recipient Srinival Muthukrishnan, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in engineering, said the program was a helpful tool in keeping connected on campus.

“It has been of extreme utility for me, from getting to class every day to going to tennis practice,” Muthukrishnan said. “I even took it out to get my Social Security number, doctor appointments and countless other errands.”

Third-year engineering student Alessandra Moraes agreed: “The Rocket bike helped me a lot. Now I can go anywhere in the city, keep healthy, and even make new friends. The Rocket bike turned into my new hobby.”

Thomas said donations for the program are being accepted.

For more information or to make a donation, contact Thomas at 419.530.4229 or

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