Community initiative gifts bikes to 12 international students


Haley Dupre'

International students stand with their new bikes alongside member of the community who made the giveaway possible.

On Friday, Sept. 9, GrayCat Cycle Worx hosted a giveaway with the International Student Union and the Multicultural and International Students Affairs to provide international students with a form of transportation and a way to connect with the community. 

With the help of the Office of Student Engagement, MISA, Harbor Church, Immanuel Baptist Church, Wesley Foundation, Jonathan Wong of Cate Street Seafood Station and Mike Lew, owner of Graycat Cycle Worx, ISU was able to gift 12 international students with bikes.

In addition to the bikes, an electric bike pump was also placed at the Wesley Foundation. 

Thaís Gomes, a graduate assistant of MISA, ISU president Gabriel Rodrigues and Wong decided on the bike initiative while brainstorming ways to help international students. 

Gomes said she saw and felt the need to help out the other international students because she, as an international student, experienced the same struggle. 

The students were selected through an application process consisting of an essay on why a bike would benefit them. The process also took into consideration how far each student lives from campus.

Whether old, new or used, Wong and Lew collected and restored all of the donated bikes.

Senior computer science major Sneha Simkhada was one of the chosen students thankful to receive a bike as it will save her time and money. 

Simkhada said, “We live off campus, so if we have a gap between classes and want to go home and eat something, it’s going to be a lot of walking, 20 minutes going, 20 minutes coming. So, having a bike makes the process easier. We can go to our home, eat something, grab something and come back for the classes.”

Wong was inspired to help others after seeing an international student struggle to connect with the community. 

Wong said, “I guess it’s always been part of my mission just to help people to feel more connected. We all lead busy lives and we think that ‘oh, I just don’t have time,’ but that’s not true because we can’t do everything, but everybody can do something. So, you just have to find out what that thing is for you and then just do it.”