Lourdes University has been approached by a generous donor who is willing to partially fund an effort to help the Lourdes campus community be more environmentally responsible while also improving the health of students, faculty, staff, and other campus people. The donor, Mark Makulinski, envisions an initiative where there is shared financial responsibility, so that both he and Lourdes University have “skin in the game” and equal enthusiasm for making the project successful. Mr. Makulinski’s philanthropic philosophy is to use his funding as a catalyst for sustainable efforts, and to remain involved to help the cause be successful.
In general, the Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program would provide Lourdes University campus students, faculty, staff, and others working on campus with a financial incentive to use walking or bicycling to commute to campus, and as part of their normal daily activities. This incentive would be applied to something Lourdes University related, such as tuition for students and teaching activities for faculty. Details of the proposed Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program follow.
The Mission of the Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program would be as follows:
To reward participants educationally for taking responsibility for improving the environment and their own health by commuting and carrying out daily activities on foot or by bicycle.
- To support the wellness of people on the Lourdes University campus by effectively rewarding those who commute and carry out daily activities on foot or by bicycle.
- To improve the physical fitness of participants as measured at the annual wellness fair.
- To ease the cost burden of getting an education for students and to enhance the ability of the faculty to provide a superior educational experience for students.
How the Program Works
It is envisioned the Proposed Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program would work as follows:
- All students, faculty, staff, and other people associated with the Lourdes University campus would be eligible
- Interested people would register for the program through a formal, and preferably automated (web based) process
- Participants would sign a pledge to report their walking or cycling miles honestly, accurately, and according to the rules
- Participants would be required to take a bicycling safety course and be certified as a safe rider. During the course participants would also be oriented to the program, have the rules of the program explained, learn how to acquire a bicycle economically, have questions answered, etc.
- Once the safety course is completed, participants would be eligible to start logging miles. Miles traveled would be awarded for walking or bicycling when commuting to campus or for completing any other daily tasks on foot or by bicycle. It would be preferable if miles were logged electronically using a smart phone app or other type of GPS or accelerometer.
- Miles would be submitted to Lourdes University on a regular schedule, with deadlines coinciding with semesters.
- Participants would receive 50 cents for each mile logged according to the rules, with 25 cents provided by Mr. Makulinski and 25 cents provided by Lourdes University. This money can only be used by the participant as follows:
- Students – tuition
- Faculty – To be determined
- Staff and others – To be determined
The Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program would be overseen by a committee that would report into the Lourdes University administration. The committee would consist of:
- Donor, Mark Makulinski
- A university administrator
- A university board member
- A student representative chosen by student government
- Optional Members at Large
To launch effectively, and to have sustained growth, the Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program must be effectively communicated. It is likely a small budget funded by the donor will be required for communications. Materials likely to be needed include:
- Program advertisements that will be used prior to, and after launch
- The safety and orientation class manual
- An “owner’s manual” for program participants
- An “honor role” to promote success of the program (and to promote honesty in reporting)
- Occasional press releases
- Coverage on the Lourdes University website
- Social media support
- Part time staff member to administer program, staff member would be a part of the Institutional Advancement department
Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus Program Goals
The following are the recommended year 1 goals for the program:
- 5% of students complete the safety and orientation program and log activity at least monthly.
- 5% of faculty complete the safety and orientation program and log activity at least monthly.
- 5% of other Lourdes campus people complete the safety and orientation program and log activity at least monthly.
- Total miles logged in the first year of the program exceeds 100,000.
The donor, Mark Makulinski, has expressed a willingness to contribute up to $1,000,000 over a ten year period, as long as Lourdes University matches his contribution. He has agreed to provide this funding at a rate of 25 cents per mile, with Lourdes University providing an additional 25 cents per mile, for a total of 50 cents a mile to the participant. Assuming the goal of 100,000 miles is achieved in the first year of the program, $50,000 would be required, of which Mr. Makulinski would pay $25,000 and Lourdes University $25,000. It is proposed that the portion Lourdes University would pay would be raised by charging a parking fee to students. This would several purposes. These include:
- Reduce parking congestion
- Encourage more exercise
- Raise additional funds for the university
- Support the overall Lourdes University campus wellness initiative
Assuming that 100 percent of the approximately 2,600 Lourdes University students would choose to pay a parking fee of $10 per semester, it is anticipated that $52,000 could be raised for the Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program and other uses consistent with the wellness purpose. This would more than offset the Lourdes obligation to this program.
Other ways for Lourdes University to fund the Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program should also be explored.
Potential Barriers and Solutions
The following are potential barriers to implementing the Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program, as well as potential solutions:
|Introducing a parking fee at a time when Lourdes University is experiencing stiff financial competition from other local colleges||
|Increase in Lourdes University administration cost||
Schedule of Implementation
It is recommended that the Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program be launched fall semester, 2013. In order for that to be achieved the following major tasks would need to be completed by the dates listed.
|Agree upon program concept/scope||January, 2013|
|Discuss the concept/scope with Lourdes University administration and get input||January-March, 2013|
|Final approval by Lourdes University administration to proceed||March, 2013|
|Final commitment by donor Mark Makulinski||March, 2013|
|Announcement internally and to the public||April, 2013|
|Develop all communication materials and establish/launch a communications schedule||April-June, 2013|
|Add campus infrastructure (bike security areas, mile logging system, etc.)||June/July, 2013|
|Establish all administrative systems, staff duties, etc., needed to carry out the program||July/August, 2013|
|Begin charging parking fees||September, 2013|
|Launch the Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program||September, 2013|
|Conduct first safety/program orientation classes||September, 2013|
|Begin evaluating the program quarterly||January, 2014|
The Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program would provide Lourdes University campus students, faculty, staff, and others working on campus with a financial incentive to use walking or bicycling to commute to campus, and as part of their normal daily activities. This incentive would be applied to something Lourdes University related, such as tuition for students and a yet to be determined incentive for faculty, staff and others. The proposed program is consistent with the mission of Lourdes University, and supportive of the Lourdes University wellness initiative. In addition, it could help alleviate other challenges on campus like parking congestion. As such, the proposed Lourdes Foot and Pedal Bonus program is worthy of serious consideration by the Lourdes University administration.