What would you do if Aggie Bull-evard was car-free for three hours? Utah State University’s Aggie Blue Bikes and Sustainability Council have teamed up to answer that question.
These organizations, as well as many others, put together USU’s third annual Open Streets Festival. The festival shut down the busiest street on campus to promote dancing, walking, cycling, rollerblading or any other form of non-motorized transportation.
“We typically think of 700 north as cars and buses. We don’t get to walk here. So it really is just about taking over the street for an afternoon to celebrate activity and alternative ways of transportation, as well as the organizations that promote that to some capacity,” said Stephanie Tomlin, the program coordinator at Aggie Blue Bikes.
The street was filled with different organizations on campus such as the Outdoor Recreation Program, USU Fitness, Cache Valley Transportation Department, Morty’s, USU Catering and many more. The Open Street Festival promotes interaction between local businesses, community members and students. It is also to raise awareness of groups on USU’s campus that promote a healthy lifestyle and active transportation.
“The ORP is really hidden, so most people don’t know about us. We came to get our name out there and get people active,” said Caroline Cantera, a USU freshman and employee of the ORP.
There are many resources on campus for students to get out and be active. The Street Festival was here to navigate these resources and encourage students to become acquainted with them. One of the booths was the Stokes Nature Center, which is one mile up Logan Canyon and has a series of lectures, concerts and exploration activities for people of all ages.
The university is devoted to sustainability and keeping the community healthy. They have reduced their water consumption by nearly 40 percent since 2005. All of our buildings are built efficiently and they have free buses and bicycle rentals. USU also offers Blue Goes Green grants. These grants help fund student projects that benefit the campus environmentally and economically. The grants help make dreams of a greener campus a reality.
A university-wide pledge to environmental sustainability takes a great deal of work. Aggie Blue Bikes and the Sustainability council are part of a bigger group on campus. The Center for Civic Engagement and Service Learning boasts the talents of the two organizations above, as well as the Utah Conservation Corp, Education Outreach, Val R. Christensen Service Center and Service Learning.
By coming together under one department, they are able to cooperate with one another to make a greater impact on civic engagement and community partnership.
The Open Streets Festival brought an array of students, children, community members and even Big Blue, who rode a motorcycle. The event was successful and educated students on how these organizations work and why they do it.
The inspiration for the festival came from the Open Streets project, which is a national initiative to get every state involved in the engagement of their street scape. There are over 100 open street projects happening throughout the U.S. and Canada right now. Logan is one of the many cities getting involved in the campaign to go green.