Commuters add to carbon footprint

All students, faculty and staff who travel to and from campus should consider the means of transportation they use, according to Steven Moore II, Eastern Michigan University’s energy and sustainability manager.

Moore believes commuters should think of how they get on campus and consider other options and means of transportation.

“Eastern Michigan University‘s goal is to become as sustainable as possible,” Moore said. “By reducing the number of trips on campus via automobile we can reduce EMU‘s carbon footprint which will improve the environment for everyone.”

Like most institutions, students at EMU use diverse means of transportation to get on campus, the most common being by automobiles.

Students find it convenient to drive themselves to school and this is evident by how packed all the parking spots are during school hours on weekdays.

Moore explained other means of transport students should consider. Ways he suggested were: walking to campus if a student lived within a walking distance, cycling to campus if living within a biking distance, taking a bus if a bus line nearby serves and runs past EMU, combining trips to campus with other errands to reduce the number of miles driven and one of the most common, carpooling with friends.

He said although there are these other means, they each have their strengths and weaknesses.

“An instance is a person living within a walking distance from campus, in this case it can be very convenient strolling to school because you wont have to worry about catching a bus or the issue of finding a parking spot, but, on the other, if the weather does not cooperate, there is no doubt walking will be incommodious,” Moore said. “Each transportation method has similar debate both for and against.”

Moore believes buses are one of the safest means for students to travel.

“One study shows that buses have over 77 times fewer fatalities per billion kilometers traveled than passenger cars,” he said. “I know that AATA takes security seriously on their buses, attempting to provide the safest ride possible.”

Various ideas and suggestions rolled in when students expressed their views and experience commuting.

Alfred Putra, an international student majoring in mechanical engineering, talked about his experience.

“I take the bus most of the time, but on a few occasions my brother drops me off,” he said.

I think taking the bus is pretty safe and convenient, the only thing I would like changed is the waiting time and not every bus stop has a roof shelter. It takes about 30 minutes for the bus to hit each stop.”

Sophomore Jennifer Dumas has been commuting for two years.

“I have a car so I drive to campus, but if I had problems with my car I would probably carpool,” she said. “I don‘t know the route the bus takes and I am definitely not taking a bicycle along that distance.”

Junior Nicholas Compton also believes carpooling will be the safest.

“The distance from where I live to campus is not really far, so I do a little of everything,” he said. “I walk or cycle when it is sunny and drive when it rains. I think carpooling is another good option because you are able to share the responsibility of buying gas. I think one way to reduce the automobiles driving to campus is by getting more students to live on campus which means more dorms. Since room and board has now increased by zero percent, it means there will be no increment in new dorms or the old ones which is good for incoming students.”

Delano Sanders, a senior, suggested free bus passes for students.

“I commute with a car, but I think it would be really nice if the school offered free bus passes or made it really cheap for student living in further locations,” Sanders said.

Moore mentioned that EMU is continually looking for ways of improving transportation options on campus and advised that students should be careful when they carpool.

“Anyone sharing a ride must be sure they are with people they feel safe with,” he said.

“We are currently examining a number of options to enhance the transportation experience for everyone that visits campus,” Moore said. “We hope to roll out some new options and programs next school year.”

Moore said EMU is also observing how other institutions handle transportation issues.

“We have also studied a number of other schools, both locally and in the region, to examine and learn from their transportation offerings and we will continue these efforts to provide the best experience possible for all travelers to and from campus,” he said.

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