Bicycle Enthusiast Catches Air on Times Square Billboard
Lots of Baruch students know how to get to Times Square by subway, but Kimberly White (’14) is an expert at getting there by bicycle.
White’s improbable journey, which began when she learned to ride a bike as a high school senior, culminated in a summer 2011 appearance as the star of a major billboard advertisement in Times Square. The solar energy advertisement, which featured White using a solar panel–carrying “SunBike,” was one of two winners in the Empire State Solar Generation photo contest (see above). An intern at Sustainable Flatbush, an organization focused on environmental sustainability in White’s Brooklyn neighborhood, White was chosen to help illustrate the group’s photo contest entry. Coverage of the win, photo included, appeared in the New York Times.
White’s bike route to Times Square included an earlier stint, shortly after learning to ride, at the New York City bicycling advocacy group Recycle a Bicycle (RAB), where she helped to spearhead an internship program for high school students. White wanted to encourage other young adults to develop the same appreciation she found for bicycles at the age of 16.
“I was interested in learning how to build bikes before I learned how to ride one,” White says. The internship program at RAB focuses on the mechanics of building bicycles and is offered in exchange for high school credit at its three New York City locations. Interns work with trained instructors to build, repair, and in some cases, totally rehabilitate many styles of bicycles.
White also hosted RAB’s first-ever Youth Bike Summit in January 2011. The three-day gathering for students, educators, and bike advocates centered around marketing bicycling as a safe and beneficial transportation alternative for youth.
From there White went on to give several bicycle-oriented talks, including a keynote speech at the 2011 Safe Route to School national conference. “Learning to bicycle introduced me to new people and ideas,” she says.
A year into her college studies, White found her activism interests spreading well beyond cycling. “I try to have my hand in a lot of causes even though my specialization is environmental justice,” she says. White knew she wanted her undergraduate work to reflect those varied passions, so at the recommendation of an Honors Program advisor, she applied and was accepted to the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies (CUNY BA) program.
As part of the CUNY BA program, White is now developing her own specialized course of study, taking classes throughout the disciplines of Baruch’s three schools as well as other CUNY colleges. She will complete a degree in environmental studies and social justice, her ad hoc major.
Following graduation, White plans to go to law school, where she will apply her interest in environmental and civil rights issues to the justice system. Who knows, she might even get there by bike.
—Adrienne Preuss (’07)