Campus Transformed into Santa’s Workshop to Assemble Holiday Memories

Monday, December 04, 2023
Students assemble a bike.

Students from a variety of campus organizations and residence halls worked together at workstations to assemble, inspect and sort bicycles for this year’s Bikes For Tykes holiday community service project.

Rose-Hulman’s Sports and Recreation Center’s fieldhouse resembled Santa’s Workshop for several hours on Saturday, December 2, as a record number of student, faculty and staff volunteers worked together at nearly 50 workstations to assemble, inspect and process 250 bicycles for the local Chances And Services for Youth (CASY) organization’s annual Bikes For Tykes community service project.

This was the 25th straight year that members of a variety of campus organizations – from fraternities/sororities to residence hall groups to athletic teams and more – have applied their engineering and problem-solving skills in the ultimate hands-on experience. More than 400 students participated in this year’s event while faculty and staff members joined in the fun as part of the campus’ Employee Learning Week activities.

Students Breanna Rogers, Hannah Snyder, Maggie LaBarr, and McKenna Gumerson concentrated on following each step in the instruction manual to assemble 26-inch bicycles, each having a gear shifting system, hand-activated front and rear wheel brakes, handlebar, seat, and pedals.

Holiday tunes resonated from a nearby iPhone to put the group and others in the spirit of the festive season.

“It seems so appropriate (to be listening to holiday music) since it looks like we’re in Santa’s Workshop,” said Rogers, a fall biomedical engineering graduate who has participated in the event throughout her campus career. “It’s a great way to give back to the community,” she said.

Snider, a senior chemical engineering/chemistry student, added, “We’re having fun with all our Rose-Hulman friends and helping the community. There’s nothing better than that.”

In another area, several Alpha Tau Omega members shared tools while putting the finishing touches on multiple 20-inch and 24-inch bicycles – all being assembled at the same time.

“As engineering students, putting together something with multiple parts is second nature to us. This is what we do,” said Troy Hungerford, a senior mechanical engineering student who was among several ATO members that participated in this year’s assembly day. “This event always puts you in the mood for the holiday season. It’s nice knowing that you’re providing something that’s going to give a kid such joy.” 

Giving back to the community is part of the mission statements for all Greek and several student organizations.

“Bikes For Tykes is one of the many hands-on experiences from our student life activities that complement the learning that occurs in the classrooms and labs on campus,” said Erik Hayes, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “It’s delightful to see the large number of students who use their skills and abilities to help others.”

CASY 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. Volunteers from the Terre Haute South Rotary Club and other organizations sorted the bikes for each school group and assisted with event fundraising.