This past April, the Office of Environmental Policy reported that 75% of our student body and 25.88% of our employees utilize sustainable commuting methods, including walking, bicycling, taking a bus, or carpooling. I believe that we can do better. If you drive to school or work every day in a single occupancy conventional motor vehicle (meaning that you do not carpool), there are strategies you can use to green your commute. The University of Connecticut offers a variety of programs to incentivize environmentally friendly transportation.
For students, the best way to get to class without driving is to live on campus or near enough that you can walk. For off-campus students, consider carpooling with your roommates or with other students who live nearby. If you do carpool, groups of 2 to 4 students can share a single parking permit, which results in major savings for the students involved. Also, each semester the carpooler’s parking pass comes with 2 complimentary day parking passes per student, on days when carpooling may not be convenient.
Even if you are planning to live off campus, the University will help you to find housing nearby through the Off-Campus Housing Service. Living closer to campus will reduce the commute and make options like bicycling to campus more feasible. More information about the Off-Campus Housing Service can be found at the following link: http://www.offcampushousing.uconn.edu/
For employees and students, take advantage of the University’s HR Carpool Tool, which helps connect drivers from similar areas looking to carpool. More information about this program can be found at the following links: http://worklife.uconn.edu/culture_community/commuter.html and http://park.uconn.edu/carpool.html
In addition, I would urge you to take advantage of our campus bike share program. The Adventure Center now has bicycles for rentals through UConn Outdoors, and you can rent them for the week or for an entire semester. They are completely free of charge and come with a bike helmet and a bike lock. If you live near enough to campus, you could bike to and from school instead of driving. UConn has more than 125 bike racks on campus for you to park and lock your bike. For more information, check out our October 13th blog: https://uconnoep.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/uconn-bicycle-share-rolls-out/
Driving a clean vehicle, like a hybrid car or and electric car, is a great way to reduce your transportation carbon footprint. We currently have electric vehicle charging stations in North and South parking garages, which are free for the first five years after installation in order to incentivize electric vehicle use on campus.
The bus is among the most popular sustainable transportation methods around campus. There are buses that run to Depot Campus, between Willimantic and Storrs, and around the Storrs campus several times per day and completely free of charge (actually, you pay for it as part of your fees). There are several bus routes on campus, labeled by color, including Green, Yellow, Orange, Blue and Purple. The buses can take you to almost any corner of our expansive campus, including Storrs Center, Hilltop, and Horsebarn Hill.
I hope that these options have informed you of something you were not previously aware of, and that this information can help us on our quest to become a greener university. Do your part, and try one of the options listed above!
– Jessica, OEP Sustainability Intern