Walk ‘n Roll to School is a joint project between UTown@UBC and the University Neighbourhood Association (UNA) at UBC. The purpose of this week-long celebration from May 27-31, was to promote healthy, safe, active transportation in our community and to encourage kids (and parents) to choose to commute to school this way. Walking and riding to school as a group provides students and parents with a great opportunity to socialize and to start their day with a bit of exercise. We also hope that it will help kids and parents become more comfortable with walking and riding to school and that they will continue to do so now that the celebration week is finished.
As part of the Walk’n Roll to School Celebration Week, we organized five neighbourhood walking school buses, led by parent volunteers in yellow “Walk’n Roll” t-shirts and hats. Each morning, the students were dropped off at the designated “stop” and then walked to school together, supervised by the volunteers, along an easy and enjoyable route that we mapped out for them. Each student was given a walking passport the previous week, and received a sticker for it from the volunteers whenever they walked or rode to school throughout the week. Today was the last day of the event, and we held a celebration rally, with free healthy snacks, where all the students who participated throughout the week turned in their walking passports for the chance to win prizes, including a new bike. The students seemed to really enjoy collecting the stickers and were definitely looking forward to the prize draw!
In addition to the Walking School Buses each morning, we also coordinated several fun activities and safety initiatives for the students, including:
– A yellow theme day (our official Walk ‘n Roll to School colour)
– Bike safety checks from a local bike shop
– A cycling rodeo and bike safety workshop
– Crossing monitors and roundabout guides.
– RCMP Speed watch
– Producing educational materials on safe walking and riding behaviours.
– Providing reflective stickers and bike lights for walking and riding in poor weather conditions
There has been a great response to the Walking School Bus; approximately 50 kids took part each morning, and numerous others walked or biked independently or in small groups and also collected stickers on their walking passports. This project was also launched for UHill Secondary School, with support from youth volunteers in the community.
Although Walk’n Roll to School Celebration Week ended today, we hope that kids and parents will continue to walk and ride to school now that they know how fun and easy it is. We also hope to explore the possibility of coordinating a Walk’n Roll to School event again in September since there has been such a positive response from both parents and students to this first one!
The support from Kathy Pickford and her staff at UHill Elementary School, as well as the UHill Elementary PAC has been tremendous, and really helped to make this event such a success. Many of the teachers even chose to wear yellow for our theme day and some PAC members were actively involved in leading our walking school bus in the morning.
Community and Online Engagement Coordinator
Campus and Community Planning