Britten Chase '05 Awarded Bristol Fellowship
She'll Study Bike Culture in Five Countries
April 12, 2005
Britten Chase, a candidate for May graduation from Hamilton College, has been awarded the college's prestigious Bristol Fellowship.
The Bristol Fellowship was begun in 1996 as part of a gift to Hamilton College by William M. Bristol, Jr., (Class of 1917). The purpose of the fellowship is to perpetuate Mr. Bristol's spirit and share it with students of the college that was such an important part of his life. Created by his family, the fellowship is designed to encourage Hamilton students to experience the richness of the world by living outside the United States for one year and studying an area of great personal interest.
Chase's project is titled "Bike Culture and the Culture of the Bike: A Worldwide Study of the Function and Personal Meaning of Bicycling." She hopes to address two subjects: the functionality of the bike, the purpose the bike serves in different cultures, the role of the bike in everyday life, why is the bike chosen for some functional purpose over others, and how the environment factors into what the bike is used for. She will also answer the questions: How do people connect spiritually and emotionally to the bike? What makes the bike special? How does the bike and biking help people connect internally to themselves and to the outside world, why does it inspire such passion?
Chase will travel to five countries to address different aspects of biking today. Her trip will start in the Netherlands, where she will study how a desire to improve the economy and the environment led to a biking lifestyle. She will then travel to Beijing, China, to study the bike and what it means to urban Asian culture and also how the bike culture clashes with increasing motor vehicle traffic. Then she will visit New Zealand to study the aesthetic part of biking: how the bike helps people return to nature and find spiritual peace. Her next stop will be Spain for the beginning of the competitive cycling season to learn how the competitive cyclists train and what cycling as a sport and as way of life means to them. She will end her journey in France, learning about how the bike and cycling becomes a national pastime and how it inspires people in their everyday life.
Chase, a government major at Hamilton, is a graduate of Denver East High School. She is a member and the captain of the women's varsity lacrosse team at Hamilton. Chase is among founders of HamTrek 2004, a triathlon featuring a 525-yard swim, 12-mile bike, and 5k run, and is on the HamTrek 2005 organizing committee. She is Insights and Ideas Editor of The Spectator, Hamilton's student newspaper, and has been involved with Hamilton's Environmental Action Group, Cycling Association and Bike Co-op. She studied at the Sea Education Association at Woods Hole, Mass., and has been an intern with the Colorado Rapids. She is the daughter of Jeffrey and Rebecca Chase of Lafayette Street in Denver.
The Bristol Fellowship is intended to be highly personal and is open to all interested Hamilton seniors. Proposals are evaluated based on inquisitiveness, a spirit of adventure, depth of personal interest, and openness to other cultures.
William Bristol served as a Hamilton trustee, president of the
alumnae association, fundraiser and benefactor. He was one of six
generations of Bristol family members to attend Hamilton, dating back
to the chartering of the college in 1812. Mr. Bristol's great,
great-grandfather became one of the college's first trustees after
helping to found the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, which later became
Hamilton College in 1793.