2023 Walk & Roll to School Day Reflections

Black Girl with braids and a black and pink backpack waits in the foreground at crossing to the school which has a white, woman, crossing guard in the crossing holding a stop sign. Another student is crossing on the left side of the image.

We hope you had a great Walk & Roll to School Day (WR2SD) on Wednesday, October 4, or whatever day you were able to participate! Communities across the globe walk and roll as part of this annual celebration highlighting the importance of safe, active travel.

The day offers a chance for the adults in the community to take notice of the challenges of students that walk and roll on a daily basis and a reminder of the important work to remove the barriers they face. Most of all, though, it’s an opportunity for communities to celebrate the joy walking and rolling brings to students, neighborhoods, and schools! Every school or community can engage in a wide range of activities on WR2SD, such as special remote drop sites for cars and walking school buses to make for a fun, social event. Our current registration estimates that approximately 35,000 students from across Michigan participated in local registered events at over 160 schools. Our staff always tries to join in on the fun of a few communities events and we wanted to share our reflections on the events we joined this year.

Students and parents walk in a scattered group near a lighted intersection in Grand Rapids with firefighter escort as part of the Sibley Elementary 2023 WR2SD event.“Around 7:30 AM students, parents, and staff from Sibley Elementary started to arrive at the Bridge Street Market in Grand Rapids to participate. As morning light grew, is was apparent that we would have pleasant weather and a beautiful sunrise of oranges and pinks started to push the dark blues out of the sky. The students participating in the walk to school received stickers and illuminated bracelets to increase their visibility.

By the time we left for school, the group was about 50 people, so our size, not to mention the fire truck escort, made us even more visible to drivers along the route. During the journey, students chattered, laughed and seemed to be having a good time. Another group walked to school from Lincoln Park. You couldn’t tell if the students were aware that their trip increased their physical activity or reduced carbon dioxide emissions around their school. All you could tell is that the students had fun walking with their friends and families.”
~ SRTS Director Max Fulkerson, Sibley Elementary, Grand Rapids

Three Windemere Charter Academy students in the foreground walk across playground sidewalk towards their school building in Lansing.“Windemere Park Charter Academy celebrated their first Walk & Roll to School Day event and the options available to students to walk and bike to school.

On the surface, the location of Windemere Park Charter Academy would not make many people feel safe, let alone encouraged, to walk, bike, or roll to or from school. The south facing front of Windemere is directly along W. Saginaw Street, also known as I-69BL and M-43. It is a five-lane wide road with a speed limit of 40 mph that consistently has many drivers going faster. Even with this limitation, the school capitalizes on the presence of a pathway running through Windemere Park on its north side so that students from the neighborhood can use active transportation to get to school.

~ SRTS Senior Operations and Evaluation Coordinator Colleen Synk, Windemere Charter Academy, Lansing

“Bennett Woods Elementary School in Okemos scheduled their annual Walk & Roll to School Day event later in the week on Friday, October 6 than the official Wednesday to coincide with district Homecoming festivities and Spirit events taking place that day.

Students and parents gathered at the parking lot of 242 Community Church and then were escorted to campus by a police officer that directed traffic away from the route. When students arrived at school, they were greeted by a balloon arch near the entrance, with their smiling teachers and principal greeting them! Roughly 100 students participated in the event.

~SRTS Program Coordinator Adam Jenks, Bennett Woods Elementary School, Okemos 

If you would like assistance as you plan for Bike and Roll to School Day this May, please reach out to Adam Jenks at Michigan Fitness Foundation.

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