Wednesday August 30, 2017

Words on Wheels

A bicycle could help end book deserts in the Miami Valley.

The Words on Wheels program will use a bicycle customized by University of Dayton engineering students to distribute reading materials to local children in areas where access to a library is limited.

“We want to create and sustain a literary oasis,” said Karlos Marshall, a University of Dayton alumnus who founded the nonprofit The Conscious Connect in 2015 to end book deserts in Ohio’s urban cities by 2021.

The bike, he said, will allow volunteers to distribute 400 to 500 books at a time.

The modifications were done through the University of Dayton School of Engineering’s Innovation Center, which pairs students with real-world clients.

Becky Blust, director of the University’s Innovation Center, said she is grateful for clients like Marshall that allow the Center to run more than 135 projects a year and prepare their students for projects outside of coursework.

“Offering students opportunities to work on design challenges through industry, entrepreneurs as well as the community is part of our mission,” Blust said. “Humanitarian-centered design is an important perspective for professionals to possess.”

Marshall said he hopes to grow his Words on Wheels fleet based on the success of the Innovation Center project.

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of news and communications, at 937-229-3256 or mpant1@udayton.edu.

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