The “Wiggle” was a nickname coined by bike enthusiasts in the early 90’s for a relatively flat route winding through the Lower Haight to the Panhandle. The history of The Wiggle is deeply rooted in San Francisco history, starting with the ancient Ohlone tribe that used to walk a similar route. Throughout the Wiggle, the incline never exceeds 6%. If you can make it up the stairs of Lone Mountain in one piece, you sure as hell can bike The Wiggle.
2 ½ years ago, Morgan Fitzgibbons recognized the prominence of The Wiggle as the heart of bike advocacy, and co-founded the Wigg Party as a way to bring bike lovers and local activists together.
Since then, the Wigg Party has grown as an important keystone in the San Francisco community and the environmental movement. Though bike advocacy is the central theme of the Wigg Party, the organization is primarily based around community building projects and sustainability issues as a whole. The group’s mission statement, according to their website wiggparty.org, is “to make the community that uses The Wiggle a leader in the transformation to sustainability and resilience.”
Fitzgibbons believes “the most basic element of a resilient community is getting to know each other.” The Wigg Party has helped bring the surrounding neighborhoods of The Wiggle together through community-building projects.
The Wigg Party hosts events open to the public such as “The Wiggle Appreciation Day,” “The Wiggle Party Party,” and “The Sustainability Block Party,” as well as larger projects such as “The Urban Eating Challenge,” a locally-sourced food event involving progressive meals and friendly competition. They also advocate the use of skill-sharing, local currencies, and community kitchens.
As an adjunct-professor in the /environmental studies department, Fitzgibbon hopes to bring these community and sustainability based ideals to the university.
“USF has the potential to play in an important role in the great transformation we need to bring about. The university has always been a great vessel to bring about social change,” said Fitzgibbons.
Next semester, Fitzgibbons will be teaching a freshman seminar on San Francisco community activism and cultural transformation, as well as a Capstone Practicum in environmental studies with professor Melina Stone in the spring.
Though the university is active in environmentalism through on-campus organizations such as The Outdoors club, the USF Garden, and a newly added Urban Agriculture minor, Fitzgibbons sees more potential in the USF community involvement.
What’s the next step for USF? He believes collaboration between these environmental organizations is key to bringing about community activism and unity, as well as implementing an on-campus bike share program.
“I think USF students should understand themselves as a necessary part of what needs to be created. We really believe we are making history.
Don’t think it’s somebody else’s job and don’t think it’s someone else’s glory. It’s on us to make a difference. That’s what gets me excited,” said Fitzgibbons.