24 September, 2008

Honor and Idealism, meet Reality

Excerpts over the last couple of weeks from two stories in USM's student newspaper:

11 Sep 2008
Eco Eagle peddles [sic] out free [sic] bike program for university

USM's Office of Sustainability "rolled out" its new bike loan program Wednesday, placing a row of 17 single-geared bicycles in fron of the Thad Cochran Center and encouraged students to make use of the free service.

[The Office of Sustainability's Chief Officer Larry] Lee said while the issue of theft is a real threat to the program, the Office of Sustainability has taken several precautions to lessen that threat.

"It's a very unique bike … If they show up off campus, we're going to do what we can to mitigate that," Lee said.

Lee said each bicycle has a sticker with a serial number, a USM bike permit and an EcoEagle sign attached to the frame which explains what to do if it needs repairing and where it should be parked. The sign also urges riders not to remove the seat, lock up the bike or take it off campus. …

"It is an honor system, and I think any time you deal with an honor system with the public, there are certainly concerns," [Student Government Association President Melissa] Cirino said. "But we're hoping that students will recognize it as a service to them and act on their good will to keep the bikes on campus."
16 Sep 2008
Eco Eagle bikes missing after one week

"We were all expecting this," said Larry Lee, chief sustainability officer, "we just weren't expecting it in a week."

The bicycles were purchased from Moore Bikes for about $300 each, including maintenance fees.

"I can't lie and tell you that I'm not disappointed," Lee said.
23 Sep 2008
Biking to class eliminates worry for commuting students

Lucy Bowens, interim director of parking management, said the cost of a bike permit is $10 annually, compared to the $50 yearly fee for a parking spot. …Campus statistics show that there are approximately 7,600 parking spaces available on or near campus in official parking lots while there are about 9,000 students commuting to class weekdays. There are also about 2,000 employees who park on or near campus.
No mention on how many places there are to park a bicycle on campus. The $10 bike fee is, quite frankly, highway robbery, especially considering how hard it is to find a place to park a bike.

Consider also these spelling mistakes in yesterday's edition:
  1. "Belt laws are rediculous". (Emphasis added.)
  2. That article appeared directly above the "Corrections" column, which in correcting the attribution of a quote refers to Mississippi's "legistlature". I wonder if a new correction will follow.
In all fairness, I've made some amusing mistakes on the weblog, too, despite the fact that my web browser automagically underlines misspelled words. Fortunately, the weblog allows me to go back and correct them. Often enough, I don't! All those years the software industry spent developing spell checkers were a complete waste of time.

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