A network of microphilanthropy that supports Middlebury students.

MiddStart funding is going to help us purchase bicycles for a cycling room on campus that produces electricity. Generators on each bike convert the mechanical work expended by the user into usable electric power! Not only will this room produce electricity, reducing the college’s carbon footprint and energy bill, but it will also educate the riders about energy production by showing a real-time display of how much wattage he or she is producing. We will also hold energy-producing competitions in the space.

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Dollars Raised: 100%

Funding Details

Deadline: Jun 30, 2012
Total needed: $1,600


Astrid Schanz-Garbassi ’12, Physics
Larchmont, NY

Paul Hildebrand '12, Env. Studies & Economics
Severna Park, MD

Nora Daly '13, Biology
Cape Elizabeth, ME

Brittany Gendron ’12, History
Severna Park, MD

Scott Klenet ’12, Int'l Politics & Economics
Plantation, FL

Paul Quackenbush ’14, Geography
Amherst, MA

Natalie Valentin ’15, Undeclared
Bloomington, IN



The objectives of this initiative span four categories: energy production, energy education, community building and promoting fitness.

First, the bike room will provide an alternative source of energy, people-power, for Middlebury. The electricity produced in the spinning room will offset demand from the grid, both reducing the College’s carbon footprint and bringing it closer to its goal to be carbon neutral by 2016. It will also reduce Middlebury’s energy bill.

Second, the bike room will provide a hands-on energy producing experience. It is more difficult to convince ourselves to really monitor our energy consumption when energy is an abstract, intangible resource. The bike room will allow riders to feel how difficult 200 watts of energy is to produce, and make us think twice about leaving our lights on or taking a second hot shower in a day. Burning and sweating our way to the production of electricity will be a memorable and important experience for riders.

Additionally, the bike room will create a community at the intersection of sustainability and fitness. Spin classes and competitions will highlight and promote alternative energy production as well as reducing the energy we consume while encouraging group fitness.

Finally, the bike room will provide an alternative work out space for students and faculty on campus who are inconvenienced by the location or limited capacity of the fitness center. Varsity teams can also use the space for cross-training on request.

YouPower Midd seeks to provide a fun, social environment that brings students, faculty, and staff together with a shared interest in fitness and environmental issues. The bike room will be run by a student organization, which will be responsible for hosting events in the space. These events may include:
-“Watt-a-thons,” during which teams will sign up to produce as much energy as they can on one bike over 12 hours
-Tour de France screenings
-Bring-a-professor-to-spinning night
-Team cross-training and competitions
-Movie nights
-Community outreach and educational events
-Spinning classes (for PE credit or for leisure)
-Live performances (student bands, a cappella groups, etc.)
-Open mic/bike nights

$40,000 is the overall project cost, including installation, equipment (bikes, inverter, monitor), operation and maintenance. We are receiving funds for installation and operation from both the Student Government Association (SGA) and an Environmental Council (EC) Grant.

MiddStart funding will help us reach our goal of 12 bikes. We also encourage donors to consider purchasing an entire bike for YouPower Midd ($1700 per bike). If you are interested, please contact Liz Robinson at the Project on Creativity and Innovation: elizabet@middlebury.edu.

One Response to “YouPower Midd”

  1. Astrid Schanz-Garbassi says:

    YouPower Midd is very excited to announce that the first tangible steps towards preparing the bike room for opening are being made! Inspired by Paul Scher’s beautiful hand-drawn maps, Connie Sanabria designed a mural that shows all of the bike trails in New England. We’ve relied on the help of student volunteers to help make Connie’s ideas come to life.

    We already have the speakers we will use for spin classes set up in the space. Plans for re-doing the flooring of the space are underway, and a projector and colored LEDs will follow shortly after.

    The most exciting news is that the bikes have been ordered!! They should arrive in early May. A big thanks to Scott Klenet (head of the student finance committee) and Tim Spears (Vice President for administration) for facilitating the agreement that made this possible.

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