Campus Community Comes Together To Assemble Holiday Memories

Tuesday, December 06, 2022
Rose-Hulman students assemble a bicycle.

Students used their engineering and problem solving skills at workstations on campus to assemble, inspect, and sort for delivery 250 bicycles during this year’s Bikes For Tykes holiday community project.

Everyone recalls fondly their first new bicycle, accentuated with colorful streamers, baskets, and such stylish names as Mountain Climber, Wipe Out, and Hyper.

More memories will be made for Wabash Valley children this holiday season from the 250 bicycles assembled, inspected and processed for delivery by Rose-Hulman students as part of the Chances and Support for Youth organization’s annual Bikes For Tykes community service project.

Teams of nearly 300 students from throughout campus grabbed tools to assemble a variety of bicycle styles and sizes at workstations spread across the Sports and Recreation Center’s fieldhouse – a scene replicating Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole.

“It’s nice to do things that help kids in the community,” said junior civil engineering Allie Fults, who joined Delta Delta Delta sorority members in putting the finishing touches on a 20-inch bicycle.

“We took our time with the first. The rest should be much easier to do,” added Lexi Ware, a junior chemical engineering student. Other members of the work crew were sophomore computer engineering major Lily Dore and second-year computer science student Alicia Rodriguez.

Other Greek Life members also volunteered to participate in this year’s activity, along with several student-athletes and students from several residence halls and such student organizations as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, and Innovation Center competition teams.

“It is fun to be doing something in a group setting with people that you know,” said Brayton Blackwell, a junior mechanical engineering major. He and other friends were applying the front wheel and pedals to a 26-inch bicycle that featured 10-speed gears to meet its Mountain brand name.

First-year biomedical engineering student Catherine Arrandale added, “This is a good way to meet other people while helping the community.”

Busy at work on completing the bike were sophomore computer engineering student Isaac Towne and Janine Dias, a junior engineering physics and optical engineering major. 

A workstation with a group of Chi Omega sorority members accepted the challenge of assembling two 26-inch bicycles at one time. 

“We like challenges … and we’re efficient,” proudly stated Natalie Olic, a sophomore mechanical engineering student. “It has been fun so far. We might start working on a third (bike to build at a time) just to make it even more of a challenge.”

Teammate Nicole Lang, a senior mechanical engineering student, said, “The first bicycle is always the toughest to build. Then, you get a knack at how everything fits together. At the same time, we’re having such a good time.”

Giving back to the community is part of the mission statements for all Greek and student organizations, and allows science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students to use their problem solving skills to help children throughout the nearby community.

“Community service is a big part of our chapter’s mission statement,” remarked NSBE Service Chair Deonisha Wright, a sophomore civil engineering student. “We feel good helping others.”

Chances and Support for Youth works with Vigo County School Corporation elementary and middle schools, along with other community groups, to designate children to receive the bicycles assembled each year by Rose-Hulman students. This is the 24th straight year that students have assisted with this project. 

“There’s a special feeling when you see a child receive that first bike. There’s a smile that’s priceless. It makes the holiday season so special for all of us,” said CASY Executive Director Brandon Halleck. “Once again, we’re most appreciative of Rose-Hulman using their talents to help the children of the Wabash Valley.”