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Bicycles needed for international students at Shawnee State University

PORTSMOUTH — When international students come to Shawnee State University, they can only bring clothes, so the Center for International Programs and Activities created a lending closet with everything from cooking utensils to blankets, pillows, phones, and winter coats to help the students during their stay at the university.

But one important item was forgotten until now – bicycles for transportation around town. About 24 new exchange students from China, Germany, Spain, Morocco, Krygzstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and the Ukraine are expected to begin in the fall semester.

“That doesn’t count the international students who are already here studying for a degree,” said Interim Director Rita Haider. “This is the most in exchange students we have ever had at one time. It depends on the visas but we had another 14 apply for new four-year degree programs and 11 more are returning students.”

In the past, these students had to walk everywhere but now a new bike program, the International Student Bicycle Loan Program, is in place to help students have much more freedom to buy groceries, run errands, go to restaurants, and travel around town.

Because of the bicycle laws in the United States that many students may not be aware of, SSU Security Officers Bernard Cooper and Corey Fischer have been assigned to develop a training program for the students. The bikes will also be registered and photographed for identification.

“The students will have to go through a security orientation before they can ride a bike,” Haider said.

Used bicycles in good working condition are requested. Not only bicycles but helmets, bike locks, water bottles and carriers, bike racks, headlights and rear lights are needed. All gifts to the program are tax deductible contributions. Bikes, accessories or money to purchase bikes and parts can be donated. For more information, contact Haider at CIPA, (740) 351-3127 or e-mail rhaider@shawnee.edu.