Friday, Sept. 18, 2015
Just like the professional cyclists scoping out the roads through the Monroe Park Campus ahead of the UCI Road World Championships, Isaiah Harvin was pushing pedals on Wednesday.
But he wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry — or at all. Harvin was among the students, faculty and leadership helping to stir up excitement for the new School of Business strategic vision by testing out a new ice cream bike.
This stationary bike harnesses pedal power to crank an old-fashioned ice cream machine, mounted on a rack in front of the handlebars. Starting with cream, sugar, salt and ice cubes, after about 45 minutes of hard work there was plenty of ice cream to share.
You won’t find that feature on the high-tech, carbon fiber cycles favored by the elite cyclists in the UCI road races.
“We’re going to be leveraging what Richmond is about, what VCU is about and what we’re about.”
“We’ve got the UCI bike race next week, and people like ice cream,” said Ken Kahn, Ph.D., senior associate dean in the School of Business. Snead Hall was packed with students on Wednesday for the Business Organizations and Student Services Fair, where the bike drew plenty of taste-testers and more than a few riders.
“As part of that [event] we are introducing students to our new strategic vision: to ‘drive the future of business through the power of creativity,’” Kahn said while taking a turn on the wheel.
“We’re going to be leveraging what Richmond is about, what VCU is about and what we’re about to really show that the School of Business is about doing things purposefully as well as creatively,” he said. “Creativity is an important theme in Richmond, and we believe we have the faculty and the curricula to differentiate ourselves about business and creativity.”
Carolina Romero, a senior marketing major, teamed with other students earlier in the week to churn a batch.
“We all took a turn on this bike to churn the ice cream. I think it took about 35 minutes, and riders switched out every five minutes or so to keep it going,” Romero said.
“It gets more and more difficult to churn as time goes by, but it was really, really fun. To see the product come out really made it all worth it. I hope I see the bike around campus more often.”
Claire Calise, assistant director of student and corporate engagement, also did her part spinning some ice cream.
“I love anything that’s interactive. This is something that students have never seen,” she said. The bike “includes them in how our strategic plan is unfolding,” Calise added. Further engagement of students, alumni and the business community will happen via an online survey, and the full strategic plan will be rolled out later in the school year.
Harvin, a sophomore marketing major, enjoyed his spin.
“Having the new motto and throwing in the bike and the ice cream was a really great way to show creativity,” he said.
The idea to have something special to mark the UCI championships came about in a faculty learning community.
“They wanted to have a stationary bike in the atrium for the bike race. The ice cream bike was found talking with some people in Richmond. We decided to go with the more interesting bike,” Kahn said. “It brings a new meaning to miles per gallon.”
This article was originally published on 9/18/15 on the VCU News website.