Invited by the University of Birmingham Conservatives, controversial backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg visited campus on Friday 9th March, speaking about his views on free speech, housing, mental health, Russia and tuition fees to a packed lecture theatre of around 300 students.Written by Erin Santillo & John Wimperis on 16th March 2018
UoB Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Bike Hire Scheme
The University of Birmingham (UoB) has revealed plans to bring a Santander bike hire scheme to campus
If fundraising is successful, the scheme will see 50 bikes at 8 stations around campus. UoB is in competition with 4 other universities (Surrey, Brunel, Portsmouth and Swansea) to secure a £100,000 investment for the scheme. The two winners of the crowdfunding competition will be determined by whoever raises ‘the largest percentage above their operational target’, according to the scheme’s crowdfunding page, meaning that the university must raise over £47,000 in order to have a chance of winning.
If successful, the scheme would see hire bikes available to students, staff, visitors and the local community. After implementation in 2018, cyclists will be able to choose between a paid membership or a ‘pay as you go’ option. Bikes would be easily accessed using an app, online or over the phone. The new bikes would be fully fitted with mudguards, lights, a lock and a basket and would be maintained by Urban Cycles who are already located on campus.
The capital costs of the two winning universities’ schemes will be paid for by Santander. Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK said ‘Santander is committed to supporting both higher education and local communities across the UK, and we believe that a cycle scheme, such as this one, could bring significant local benefits to the winning institutions.’
In a statement on their website, UoB said ‘We want to bring a bike share scheme on campus in order to make our staff, students and the local community more mobile, healthier, happier, improve air quality and reduce congestion in the local area’. The university’s Sustainable Travel Co-ordinator Peter Edwards added, ‘this is a really exciting project for us and we are totally committed to surpassing our target. A cycle hire scheme like this could really transform how people get around our fantastic campus’.
Housing and Community Officer Kris Ali, one of the scheme’s organisers and a prominent supporter commended, ‘when I was first made aware about the bike scheme I knew it was something that I had to get involved with. It is a fantastic opportunity that benefits everyone as it enables students, staff and the community to get around quicker and more efficiently, and to explore some surrounding areas around campus. It also comes at a time where green impact is at the forefront of our minds as a society and so anything that is sustainable and encourages good environmental behaviour should be supported greatly!’
The university surveyed ‘over 700 staff and students back in February, with 88% saying they ‘would love to see the scheme on campus’. When asked by Redbrick the vast majority of students responded positively to the scheme, although some did raise concerns. One student questioned whether people interested in cycling around campus would not simply ‘use their own bikes from home’.
The university is asking people to pledge money towards the scheme to help reach the target sum. Those who pledge can choose between a number of rewards, including discounted cycle hire membership. Birmingham based company TOA Taxis has already committed an impressive £15,000 towards the total.
At the time of writing, UoB has raised 35% (£16,400) of its target and is in first position on the leader board. The deadline for campaigning is 8 December.