U leads campaign to “Go Green, Save Green”

By Isabella Bravo, Staff Writer

Foot, bike, train or bus, the U wants its commuters to know their green options.

U Commuter Services kick-started the school year with their environmentally responsible campaign, a half-reminder, half-plea to everyone on campus, “Go Green. Save Green.”

“We want everyone to know,” said Alma Allred, director of Commuter Services, about the new campaign. “There are more options than single car, single occupant. This is mostly educational to help people see what’s available.”

Commuter Services is sponsoring tables all over campus where students can find out which mass transit route works best with their commutes. The U’s Auxiliary Service employees, such as those from the University Campus Store, the U Card Office and Commuter Services, are wearing campaign T-shirts with the top four alternative transportation choices printed on the back, “Walk, Bike, Train “n’ Bus.”

The Auxiliary Service employees will be required to wear the T-shirt for the first two weeks of school. However, Allred does not want the campaign to end anytime soon. “I hope this will become an emphasis for the whole year,” he said.

Auxiliary Services designed the campaign to inform U commuters of both the mass transit options available to U commuters, as well as the new on-campus transit options, one of which is a converted campus shuttle that runs on recycled vegetable oil. The veggie bus started its service this year.

The shuttle tracker is also new. The shuttles are fitted with GPS systems connected to a television screen in the Union’s main lobby. The union TV and a Web site version provide a real-time display of the shuttle movements.

The campaign is a campus-wide coordination between multiple service providers on campus. Although the U Campus Store is not sponsoring any activities for the campaign, Shane Girton, associate director for bookstore operations, sees how the environment and budget-friendly message is spreading. Inspired by this campaign, he plans to have a green promotion specific to the bookstore later in the year to let people know about the new money-saving green options new to the bookstore.

“We’re wearing these shirts to support the parking services incentive for mass transit,” he said. “There are a lot of things that we are doing to provide better service to our consumers, but that also falls under the “go green’ label.”

Allred said that Commuter Services wants to be responsible stewards to our environment.

“We have to come up with something each year to help people know that we can help the environment,” he said.

The average round trip for students and faculty from their homes to the U is 20 miles, or 10 miles each way. That trip uses approximately one gallon of fuel. One day of driving to the U costs about $4 depending on where you fill up.

Allred estimates that 13,000 students, faculty and staff travel to and from the U every day using mass transit and their UTA Ed-Passes. The U spends an estimated $2.5 million on UTA bus and TRAX passes each year. According to Allred, the benefits far outweigh the cost. By taking mass transit, U commuters save about 13,000 gallons of gas everyday and keep its equivalent in pollution out of the air.

Craig Forstor, director of the Office of Sustainability, believes the campaign is both an environmentally responsible action and responsible community involvement.

“This is a part of our contribution as a member of (the Salt Lake Valley) community,” said Forstor. “(As a university,) we need to reduce our traffic, air pollution, and carbon footprint by getting people not to drive alone in cars.”

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Anna Kartashova

James Boswell, with the commuter services, helps Jason Smurthwaite, a sophomore in parks and recreation, find a bus route to a TRAX stop closest to his neighborhood.