After bike program crash, Spin scoots back to Calvin’s campus


Photo courtesy Sean Salamun.

Students Izuchi Ebeku, Sean Salamun, and Richard Tuttle formed the senate team that spearheaded the scooter project.

Student senate team leader Sean Salamun has been dreaming of bringing electric scooters to campus since he was a first-year student. Now, thanks to the hard work of team members Izuchi Ebeku and Richard Tuttle, senate advisor John Britton and President Le Roy’s cabinet, that dream will be real by the end of March.
Although this project has been in the works since August, the city of Grand Rapids’ recent partnership with Spin gave Salamun’s team the edge they needed to get a similar partnership in motion. The team met with Britton, the presidential cabinet and other administrators multiple times to negotiate a contract with Spin.
Spin is a dockless scooter-share service that has partnered with cities and university campuses across the country, from Tampa to San Francisco. Student senate attempted a bike rental program through the company a few years ago, but Spin stopped offering bikes and the project had to hit the brakes.
Salamun isn’t worried about partnering with them again. “We feel confident that Spin’s scooter rental service will be a sustainable investment,” Salamun said, “The Spin scooter program is already present in Grand Rapids, indicating that their company is already invested in our community and has the resources in place to sustain it.”
On Calvin’s campus, Spin will provide 50 scooters, as well as helmets, which are required. According to Salamun, Spin will also provide geofencing, which automatically limits scooter speed in high population areas of campus in order to mitigate the risk of crashes and pedestrian injury. The scooters have a battery life of approximately 37.5 miles.
The scooters will be distributed across campus, in designated parking spots and near bike racks. The cost to rent them will be the same as it is in Grand Rapids: a $1 unlock fee, plus $0.15 for every minute of use. Returning a scooter to a preferred parking zone will earn the user an unlock fee exemption on their next ride. The Spin app will manage all rentals.
Student senate is planning several kick-off events coming the week of March 26, which may include an information session on safe use of the scooters as well as a fee-waived, socially-distanced ride to Reed’s Lake.
“We thought it’d be great for the campus community,” Salamun said, “…it’s really nice for community building, especially during COVID-19.”
The team plans to increase the number of scooters available on campus if the initial partnership is successful and demand is high.
“We hope it becomes really popular and that people really enjoy it,” Salamun told Chimes, “and that it will up enrollment as well.”