Making Spirits Bright: Students Work Together Building Bikes for Kids

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Santa Claus and his elves were once again assisted by Rose-Hulman students, faculty and staff members for the assembly of bicycles that will make the holiday season bright for hundreds of Wabash Valley children.

The institute’s Facilities Operations building was transformed into Santa’s Workshop Dec. 2 as nearly 250 members of the campus community assembled, inspected and sorted 405 bicycles for an annual community service project organized by Terre Haute’s Chances and Services for Youth (CASY).

Megan Baker, a junior biomedical engineering student, joined members of the Chi Omega sorority in assembling 24- and 26-inch bicycles at one of the 40 workstations – completing nearly one bicycle every 10 minutes.

"We’ve already assembled 10 bikes. In a quick short amount of our time, we’re impacting so many people," she said before getting back to work on another bicycle.

Nearby, members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Robotics Club and several fraternities kept up the same assembly pace with 16- and 20-inch bicycles.

After assembly, members of the Human Powered Vehicle Team, knowledgeable about bicycle mechanics, helped inspect the brakes and gears for each of the bicycles, and helped solve any mechanical issues that developed throughout the assembly process.

Mason Lott, a senior HPVT member, helped develop step-by-step bicycle assembly reference materials for workstations as part of a technical communications course. He has been an assembly day volunteer for four years, he said, because it combines his love for bikes and the community.

"Over the course of the last four years, nearly 1,600 bikes have been distributed to local children. That’s amazing. It makes me happy to know that because of this event someone else might get the same love for bikes or engineering that I do," he said.

After each bicycle was inspected, student volunteers assisted CASY staff in sorting the bicycles for pick up by families, school groups and community organizations for distribution before Christmas.

This was the 19th straight year that Rose-Hulman has participated in the largest one-day community service project on campus, according to event organizer Dale Long.

Meanwhile, Brandon Halleck, CASY’s chief operations officer, stated: “I’m delighted to see how committed the Rose-Hulman students are to helping others and giving back to the community. This event couldn’t go on without the Rose-Hulman students and the generosity of our donors.”

Other student groups assisting assemble bicycles this year were Alpha Chi Sigma, Alpha Phi Omega, Biomedical Engineering Society, Delta Delta Delta, Engineers Without Borders, Eta Kappa Nu, FIRST Robotics Mentors, Kappa Theta Pi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Pi Kappa Alpa, SigmaNu, Student Alumni Association, Tau Beta Pi, Team Rose Motorsports and Triangle.