Rolling around York


Oct 6, 2018 

Helen Lam | Contributor

If you walk by the QUAD residence, you will see near it an exciting place that was built just half a year ago—a Community Bike Centre. Established by Regenesis York, an environmental organization, the Centre aims to promote the environmentally friendly transportation method of cycling in York and its surrounding neighbourhoods, including University Heights, Jane-Finch, Downsview, and Westminster-Branson. 

Regenesis York is a student-run group that works for social justice, community development, and sustainability through community endeavours and advocacy. It strives to cultivate a sustainable earth that will nurture future generations. Currently, climate change is a major environmental issue that has global ramifications. It is a significant determinant of poverty, food insecurity, disasters, homelessness, illness, and animal and plant extinctions. In many cases it even causes people to migrate as environmental refugees because they can no longer stand to live in an area contaminated by mining, dams, the burning of fossil fuels, and other human activities. 

By choosing to ride a bicycle instead of driving or riding a vehicle that emits carbon, people can reduce the release of pollutants in the atmosphere that contributes to climate change. Cycling is, therefore, a viable alternative option (for relatively short distances) and an economically accessible form of transportation. In addition, it benefits mental and emotional well-being. 

Angie Lau, second-year children’s studies and concurrent education student, expresses her opinion: “I think that this is just a win-win situation where this activity benefits the well-being of people (physically, mentally, and socially), and also keeps the environment sustained.”

The new Centre offers affordable services which include bicycle rentals, group rides, do-it-yourself repair, and education on cycling. Bicycle donations from community members who no longer ride are encouraged, since they can contribute to a diverse collection of sizes and styles. The team of people at the Centre consists of staff members such as bike mechanics as well as volunteers who will perform basic mechanic tasks, maintain the shop, and help clients.

The Centre is funded by Mountain Equipment Co-op, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Metcalf Foundation and Regenesis York. Supporters have been receptive to the requests for funding because they believe in the vision of the initiative.

Many students were excited about the opening of the Bike Centre. Second-year psychology student Simran Virdi comments: “I think it will benefit the community a lot, especially since it is a form of green transportation for students or anyone in the York community.”

Some believe that it will ameliorate travel within the York campus itself. Filsan Bedel, fourth-year economics and political science student thinks that “a bike centre is an excellent idea considering that York’s Keele Campus is pretty huge. Biking will be an effective and eco-friendly way to get on about.”

If the opportunity arises, Regenesis York may even consider building a similar centre at the Markham campus. The Centre fosters resourceful use of materials and investment in renewable energy, furthering our community’s love and care for this planet which we call home.


May 3rd, 2018


Two of UofT’s environmental organizations just merged!

digin_merge (dragged).jpg

Toronto, ON: Dig In! UofT Campus Agriculture encourages the growth and development of urban agriculture projects on campus and seeks to educate students on growing food. They believe that gardening is a great way to build community, and they have recently merged with an organization that has similar values – Regenesis.

Regenesis is a Canadian community environmental organization, with chapters on various universities in Ontario. They believe in empowering students as initiators of change in addressing today’s social and environmental concerns, through advocacy and service in local chapters. Their Regenesis UofT chapter runs programming around sustainable food and waste diversion, and they will be opening a Youth Food Centre in the upcoming school year.

Regenesis UofT has adopted Dig In as an initiative and aims to help expand the work that is being done across the gardens at UTSU, Sid Smith, and the Anthropology Garden & Greenhouse operated by Samantha Lucchetta and Kristy Bard. Jessica Viau, Co-President of Regenesis UofT, says “Regenesis is a grassroots platform for student-driven environmental projects. We are excited to have Dig In join our growing family.”

Both groups aim to work together to secure better funding for their gardens. They plan on utilizing the new Youth Food Centre as the perfect space to host workshops and teach-ins. In addition, they hope to integrate their gardening projects into the academic curriculum of the New College Food Equity program.

Up and coming gardens are on the horizon for Dig In, such as re-installing a semi-hydroponic herb garden on the Faculty Club roof. They also have plans to collaborate with New College to garden a small walled courtyard off the Human Biology department, as well as establishing a garden at Wilson Hall.

But to do this, they need more people getting their hands dirty! Volunteers are at the core of what both Regenesis and Dig In do. “The more student volunteers we have, the more capacity we'll have to grow.” Says Bard, “We envision a campus where food grows organically in every garden, and are tended and harvested by students and staff, with the food served in campus cafeterias and restaurants.” Dig In hosts growing sessions every Monday and Wednesday. Get involved here: