Don’t Drive Day a response to creating a climate neutral campus

On Monday, March 22, participating students, faculty and staff showed their concern and love for the earth by walking, biking, carpooling or traveling by trolley in observation of Don’t Drive Day.

In an attempt to decrease Goshen’s Carbon footprint because of a national commitment signed by President Brenneman, the idea for Don’t Drive Day was created.

President Brenneman signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in the spring of 2007 and joined 175 other higher education institutions in a quest to achieve neutralization of our campus’ greenhouse gas emissions. According to the goGreen section of Goshen’s Web page, “Neutralization is the point at which carbon-dioxide emissions produced by Goshen College-related activities are offset by three means: 1) reduction through conservation 2) use of renewable sources of energy and 3) increased sequestration through the absorption of carbon dioxide by trees and other plants.”

Commuting to Goshen College is a major contributing factor to Goshen’s Carbon footprint. According to statistics collected through Goshen’s Climate Action Plan, of commuting students, about 72 percent drive a vehicle to school,  which averages 13 miles per trip per day. This accumulates to approximately 80,000 gallons of fuel per year for all commuting students. About 70 percent of the faculty uses a personal vehicle with an average round trip of 7 miles. This adds up to around 180,000 gallons of fuel per year. About 360,000 gallons of fuel is used by the 90 percent of staff that commute by vehicle.

Glenn Gilbert, utilities manger and sustainability coordinator at Goshen College, lives about a mile from campus and commutes to work year-round by bicycle.

“I go out to the garage and think that I should drive,” he said, “but I can’t bring myself to get into my vehicle when I can bike. I would encourage others to do the same. Plus, I have the best parking spot right outside my office window.”

Glenn mentioned that he bikes about 1,000 miles per year through commuting, and that if everyone would do the same it would make a big difference.

“How do you make a cultural shift to make people [environmentally] conscious?” asked Glenn. “It’s pretty important that we all do so.”

Goshen College’s 670 bike slots make the campus convenient for bike commuters. Also, the city of Goshen is also working on a master bike plan to make bicycle commutes easier and safer.

Don’t Drive Day doesn’t have to occur only once a year. Some faculty and students have committed to not driving a certain number of days this year.

This Sat., March 27, from 8:30-10 P.M., Goshen College will participate with people around the world in Earth Hour. All of the outdoor and general lighting will be turned off and students are encouraged to turn their room lights off in support. The Connector will also house a meter gauging the college’s electrical use.

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Kate Walker
Written by Kate Walker

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