Wheels & Walk Festival Builds Community Along MCT Trails

The Edwardsville Campus Community Committee hosted the first Wheels & Walk Festival on Saturday.

Bicyclists, skateboarders, rollerbladers, walkers and more left the SIUE Technology and Management Center parking lot and took the Madison County Transit (MCT) trail system to Ironworks, home to Sugarfire Smoke House, Global Brew Tap House & Lounge, Chicken Salad Chick, Just Right Eating Edwardsville and Waxing the City.

Registration for the event was free, but donations were encouraged to donate to the Glen-Ed Food Pantry or the Cougar Cupboard Food Pantry. The first 200 attendees to donate received a $5 food voucher to use at Ironworks.

The Campus to Community Committee is a volunteer group of Edwardsville community members and SIUE campus members who aim to build relationships between the university and the city.

“Edwardsville offers a lot to SIUE students and SIUE offers a lot to Edwardsville. With this event, we are building that relationship by showing how easy it is to access all that Edwardsville has to offer from campus,” said the campus committee to the community. President Chad Verbais. “The SIUE campus is truly beautiful and has a lot to offer students, so students sometimes struggle to find a reason to leave campus and join the community.”

Verbais works at SIUE as Assistant Director of Complementary Education and has been a member of the Edwardsville community for 15 years.

The students who attended and volunteered for the event echoed the desire to build community between SIUE and Edwardsville.

“I love getting out and helping local businesses,” said SIUE economics major Amanda Wayman. She recruited five of her friends, nicknamed the “Raiders” after the Colgate Raiders basketball team, to walk with her.

“It’s very important for students to get out into the community. Not only because Edwardsville is a great place to live, but also to network with local organizations,” said Hailee O’Dell, student body president. of the SIUE.

Mayor Art Risavy also walked in support of the festival.

“The university is a great resource for our city and many of our city employees come from SIUE,” he said. “Events like this encourage collaboration. Plus, it’s great to celebrate together at Global Brew afterwards.”

Families with young children, teenagers and many more came to enjoy the beautiful spring day.

“My dad works at SIUE and told me about this event. I love running and it’s a great day for it,” said Joey Cavanaugh, a freshman at Alton High School.

“I love riding my bike and finding ways to stay active,” said Wayne Chambers of Florissant, Mo.

He often comes to the Madison County trails to ride his bike. He wore a bright green shirt that said “I’m Wayne” on the front and “Wayne’s 80th Birthday Ride” on the back.

“This shirt is from my 80th birthday last year. I love riding the MCT trails, so we came here for our ride,” Chambers said.

The event concluded at Ironworks with outdoor games, live music from Matt Taul, and food and drink.

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