Each fall brings a new class of students zipping around campus on their bicycles, and this year an unexpected cyclist has joined them — President Eisgruber ’83. To discourage faculty members from parking on campus (parking is “expensive, takes up space, and isn’t pretty,” he said), Eisgruber has committed to reducing his own parking by 80 percent, and has taken up biking to campus instead.
“We have lots of people who live close to our campus, and then want to drive to our campus and park here,” he said. “We need to find ways to inspire people ... to take advantage of the smallness of our campus and to think of distances as smaller.”
At eight minutes, Eisgruber’s commute from Lowrie House, the official residence of the University president, sometimes takes him through Princeton Theological Seminary (the prettiest route) and sometimes down Mercer Street (faster, but more crowded). The challenge is getting to the edge of campus, he said; after that, the University pathways are easy and beautiful to ride. On top of that, he added, bicycling is a convenient way to schedule exercise into his day.
And of the colder months to come? “My colleague Jill Dolan [dean of the college] told the freshman class that it takes 28 days to set up a habit. … I figure I’m on my way to 28 days with the bicycle, and hopefully by the time the weather gets worse, the habit will be ingrained and I’ll be craving the ride.”