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The University of Texas at Tyler
Meet the Patriots: UT Tyler Junior Advocates for Bicycle Awareness
Editor’s Note: The University of Texas at Tyler prides itself on its remarkable ensemble of undergraduates, graduates and alumni. In this 2008-09 feature series, “Meet the Patriots,” we will focus on some of those individuals.
Patrick Marshall, Jacksonville junior at The University of Texas at Tyler, hopes to make change in the city of Tyler – one bike ride at a time.
He, along with other friends and community members, ride their bikes every Sunday in various areas of Tyler to promote bicycle awareness and safety.
“Critical Mass is a big movement nationwide specifically for bike awareness,” said Marshall, who is majoring in music performance. “It’s just a group of bike riders who ride together solely for the purpose of raising bicycle awareness and safety, as well as gaining support.
“We call ours ‘Minimal Mass’ as a joke, since we don’t have that many people involved at the moment,” he added with a laugh. “But we’re hoping to build the support as time goes on.”
Marshall began his journey with a small group of friends, who all decided to ride together after networking within music endeavors.
“I have a couple of friends who are into the awareness focus – protests, rallies, things like that," he said. "We all started riding around the same time. This past July we decided to meet at Bergfeld Park in Tyler and go out riding in different areas to begin this.”
According to Marshall, it’s not just UT Tyler students who are involved.
“There’s a good amount of Tyler Junior College students, others are college graduates, others work in town, and some who ride with us are still in high school," Marshall explained. “When people see all these kids together riding, they’ll understand that there’s a huge group of people wanting to ride bikes around town, and the city is not just set up that well for it. We see every ride we do as a positive thing. I hope we can eventually turn Tyler into a more bike-friendly community. Even if people have no affiliation with bikes at all, they’ll realize there’s a very decent bike community here and in the East Texas area in general.”
Although he and the group have yet to take their cause to the legislative stage, he already has a steady stream of supporters including his parents, Mike and Carmen.
“I’m very grateful that my parents have supported me for as long as they have,” Marshall added. “I owe everything that I do to them. Everyone supports me, and they’re fully behind it. Although they do worry, they love that I’m involved in something, and that I’m passionate about something. It’s more than what I could ever ask for.”
Marshall expects to graduate from UT Tyler in May 2010 with a bachelor of music in performance. A self-proclaimed lover of the arts, he also writes, performs and listens to music “as much as possible” and enjoys painting.
One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. Nearly 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.
Meet the Patriots Feature Series: