Uneaten food from UIC Dining Services doesn’t get thrown out — it helps feed people at a nearby homeless shelter, thanks to students in a campus biking club.
The College of Cycling coordinates weekly volunteer bike rides to deliver donated food from UIC to the Pacific Garden Mission, 1458 S. Canal St.
“We really wanted to make sure COC wasn’t just a ride-your-bike type of club,” said president Rafid Rahman, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The group started with monthly rides to Pacific Garden in May, then expanded to weekly rides beginning fall semester. They deliver 30 to 80 pounds of food each trip — items like rice, beans, chili, vegetables and other cafe food, packaged in aluminum carrying trays.
“Last month alone, we were able to reduce our waste, help serve over 1,587 meals to the Pacific Garden Mission and work in partnership with UIC students to work towards making the city of Chicago a more sustainable and better place,” said Mary Dunn, district marketing manager for Chartwells Higher Education/UIC Dining Services. “A win for all of us!”
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Did you ever wonder why the cycling forums here in Chicago and elsewhere focus on the negative things that happen ‘on the way to work‘? Were I a complete newbie and trying to decide whether or not to commute, all this anger and resentment would turn me off! I would opt to stay on the bus.
But these forums are the places where resentment turns into seething rage and gets reinforced on a daily basis while the people responsible for them ‘egg on the crowd‘. We are more likely to find that cyclists are gathered there to organize protest rides than to simply find out where the next ride of enjoyment is beginning. Why is that?
Most of the veterans of Chicago’s Urban Cycling Community would blame it all on the motorists who ride the same roads they do. And if that is indeed the case that would further solidify my resolve as a newbie to stay off the roads as a cyclist. Because, if the veterans have this much difficulty how would anyone who is new to bicycle commuting ever stand a chance?
Have We Completely Lost Site Of Our Mission?
The reason that cyclist get together to support one another, whether it be in a virtual space or at a Critical Mass Ride is friendship. Some of the wags like to state it this way:
For the good of the community!
But from where I stand there is more thuggery taking place than community building. Street gangs would be awfully proud of the way in which we take out the cops and the drivers we don’t like. They would be awfully impressed that we have our own manifesto:
They would probably snicker at the likes of the UIC Biking Club passing out food when they could be kicking some ass on the streets each morning. But that is the way of the world these days.
People from all walks of life gather to chat online or at a monthly ride and suddenly the topic is how best to record the ‘illegal activities‘ of the ‘enemy‘ with the newest video gear. And as if this were not enough, our planning is more along the lines of protest demonstrations against the cops than the collecting of edible food for the homeless.
Where exactly did we go wrong?
Our aim seems to be the creation of video archives where we can document the misdeeds of others. We find more meaning in the planning of ways to create a ‘bad hair day‘ for motorists than a way to do something good for others.
Maybe we should focus less on retaliatory efforts on the part of someone who thinks a car passed him too closely and more on ways to lift our brand within the pedestrian community where it is sorely in need of tarnish removal.
To me the things that are ‘for the good of the community‘ far more about being good neighbors than finding new ways to alienate ourselves from car drivers.