Don’t drive day spurs spontaneity

Don’t drive day spurs spontaneity

Getting to work at the Good Library without a car took some extra planning for Lisa Guedea Carreno on Don’t Drive Day – planning that didn’t quite work out.

Don’t Drive Day was a campus challenge to avoid driving by biking, carpooling or walking on Friday.

Guedea Carreno drives 21 miles every day – 11 miles to get her to and from work and another 10 miles to pick up her daughter, Genevieve, from after-school care.

Guedea Carreno planned to take the Interurban Trolley to campus after seeing her daughter get on the school bus. Then, at the end of the day, she planned to take the trolley home, pick up the car and go get her daughter, saving 11 miles. This would have shortened her work day, but she took on an evening reference desk shift on Thursday to make up the difference.

Things didn’t go as planned. Because Guedea Carreno was working Thursday night, her daughter didn’t get to bed on time and was sleepy, moving slowly the next morning.

“While I was trying to hurry her up, and she was complaining about not wanting to go to school, I jokingly suggested that she come to work with me instead.” Guedea Carreno said. “She jumped at the opportunity, since she’s always been waiting to ride the trolley for several years now. In a rare moment of spontaneity … I decided to let her play hooky from school and come with me for the day.”

So, mother and daughter spent Don’t Drive Day together in Guedea Carreno’s office. They caught a ride home with the third member of their family, Sonny Carreno, director of Lavender Jazz, who drove in for a rehearsal. Guedea Carreno’s spontaneous decision saved 21 miles of driving.

Suzanne Ehst, academic counselor at the academic support center, thinks about these issues regularly. Ehst and her husband both work in Goshen, but live in Constantine, Mich., 22 miles away. They try to carpool every day. “It’s something that we feel we’re obligated to do because we live so far away,” Ehst said.

In order to further offset the emissions they produce, Ehst and her husband have committed to donating one cent for every mile they drive to a church offering that supports fair trade organizations. They also drive a hybrid car, and Ehst often attempts to “hypermile,” using various tactics to max out her gas mileage.

Kristen Fath, a junior, saved 150 miles by carpooling to a conference in Chicago. She tries to carpool whenever possible, too.

“It saves on gas and prevents excess pollution,” Fath said.

Adam Roth, gift fund officer, lives close to campus, so biking to and from work didn’t save significant amounts of gas. His Don’t Drive Day story came after work.

Roth and Karen Graber, a 2008 alumna, wanted to go to Il Forno, but Roth had committed to not drive and Graber’s bike was broken. So, they shared Roth’s bike with Graber balanced on the handle bars for the trip.

“I probably peddled for the two of us for a total of about four miles,” Roth said. “It was a fun, carbon-free date.“

Written by Paul Boers

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