LANSING, MI — Michigan students will be joining schoolchildren from around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day (W2SD) on Wednesday, October 2. This year’s theme, “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” – encourages students, parents, teachers, and community leaders to engage in fun, themed activities on their school commute. Nearly 300 schools are signed up to participate, with event efforts coordinated by the Michigan Fitness Foundation’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program staff.
“Over the last 50 years, students walking and biking to school has declined tremendously, and the reasons are many and often complex. Participating in W2SD is a simple way for students to get exercise and for communities to develop a culture of walking and biking to school. Through our SR2S partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), we are able to help communities create a more friendly walking and biking environment that encourages physical fitness and healthy habits,” shared Michigan Fitness Foundation President and CEO Amy Ghannam.
MDOT administers the federally legislated SRTS program which is a federal program designed to make it safe, convenient, and fun for children to walk and bike to school.
“MDOT looks forward to helping students walk and bike to school safely through the SRTS program at Michigan Fitness Foundation. When routes are safer, walking or biking to and from school makes it easy for kids to get the regular physical activity they need for good health,” said MDOT Office of Economic Development Administrator Mike Kapp.
As a component of SRTS programming, W2SD events also highlight the importance of pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools, and the broader community. Events can be as straightforward or as grand as schools want to plan — from simply inviting students to walk to school to hosting a full-blown walking parade.
There is still time for schools to register for the event, and all registered schools receive planning assistance from SRTS program staff.
To register, visit saferoutesmichigan.org/walk-to-school-day.