Inaugural Sustainability Fellow Works to Advance Biking in Community

March 27, 2015 by Lindsey Abernathy, Project Coordinator


When Sara Douglass joined the University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability’s as its first post baccalaureate fellow, she saw a potential to get more students, faculty and staff on two wheels rather than four.

Douglass, who started her yearlong fellowship in August, facilitated the establishment of the university’s new Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, launched a new bicycling website for the university community and is planning several biking events for spring semester.

“I chose to work on bicycle infrastructure and improving education and outreach because I felt there was a definite need,” said Douglass. “As the university continues to grow, we are noticing an increase in the number of cyclists on campus. Educating the campus community about the importance of sharing the road and doing so responsibly can help to prevent collisions.”

Douglass, who graduated from UM in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, has worked with the UM Department of Parking and Transportation to offer two bike maintenance workshops at the Ole Miss Bike Shop this year, and she is planning two bicycle sustainability tours as part of Green Week on April 23.

Her focus on biking came from her work as an undergraduate, when she drafted “Complete Streets” recommendations for the City of Oxford as part of her independent study project for the UM environmental studies minor. Complete streets accommodate all users, from motorists and buses to cyclists and pedestrians. In February 2015, the city adopted a version of Douglass’ recommendations.

Douglass’ work as a sustainability fellow doesn’t end with biking. Along with the Department of Student Housing and Residential College South, she has created a new freshman interest group focused on sustainability and is helping pilot an Eco Reps program in Crosby Hall.

“Sustainability is a rapidly growing field,” said Douglass. “Companies, organizations and institutions are striving to incorporate sustainability in their master plans and business models. This fellowship has provided me with a great foundation for my career.”

The Office of Sustainability is currently hiring for its 2015-16 fellow. Click to learn more.

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