Forget shuttle buses and running across campus from class to class.
Towson University on Friday kicked off a new program that officials say will help students save gas and time, and maybe help them become more physically fit as well.
The campus is rolling out a new — and free — bike rental program, through which students can rent a bike for the entire semester, then return it at the end of the term.
The pilot program is starting with 25 unisex bikes. Students have the opportunity to sign up for the bikes on a first come, first served basis.
Registration began on March 30, and a couple hours later, all the bikes were spoken for.
Though the rentals are free, users have to sign off on waivers related to paying for any loss or damage that might occur.
Officials said the program was developed to offer an alternative mode of transportation that's affordable and promotes healthy lifestyle.
The program also has the goal of promoting safety, as biking may be safer at night than walking across campus; and providing students a more efficient way to move around campus.
The program was launched in conjunction with the university's Earth Day focus in April. Other activities throughout the month include:
• An April 6 tree-planting trip to Back River.
• Recycled Art Competition, April 16-19. Students will create art made almost entirely out of recycled materials to be displayed the week of April 16 in the Union. Students will vote on their favorite piece, with the winner being announced at the annual environmental conference on April 23.
• The fourth annual Environmental Conference-EnviroFest, April 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., in the West Village Commons. Hear sessions led by students, faculty, staff, and community members on various environmental topics. Registration is free at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CHD7PJ8.
• Recycling Drop Off Day, April 25, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., when people can drop off recyclables, including hard-to-recycle items such as batteries and electronics, to the grassy area between Lot 11 and the Union Garage.
• And a farmer's market will be held May 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Potomac Patio/Potomac Lounge on campus, with locally grown foods for sale. Foods include eggs, beans, lettuce, herbs and fresh-baked bread.
This story has been updated to reflect that all the bikes are now spoken for.