U of G Community Encouraged to Participate in Commuter Challenge

May 21, 2008 - Campus Bulletin

U of G students, staff and faculty are encouraged to find greener ways to get to campus as part of this year's Commuter Challenge, a nationwide week-long event that runs during National Environment Week June 1 to 7.

This is the University's fourth year participating in the campaign, which aims to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles driven to work each day by encouraging people to take sustainable modes of transportation.

"Not only will participants be reducing their carbon footprint, but they will also be gaining the positive health benefits that come from the daily exercise of biking, walking or Rollerblading to work," said Tyler Demers, a student who is helping to organize the event. "This is a win-win situation for everyone."

For those who choose to cycle, Campus Community Police will be conducting bicycle spot checks at the corner of McGilvray and Gordon streets on June 3. Mechanics from Paramount Ski & Sport will also be on hand to do free bike inspections and adjustments. Coupons for discounts on bicycle safety equipment and the University bookstore will be handed out.

Also, Speed River Bicycle is offering 10 per cent off all bicycle tune-ups to any commuter challenge participants and the Department of Athletics is opening the showers during the week between 8 and 8:30 a.m. for participants who want to shower before work.

On June 4, the City of Guelph is celebrating Clean Air Day by offering free bus rides until 9:15 p.m.

The city will be awarding prizes to the organization with the highest participation rate, the most number of sustainable kilometres travelled and the highest amount of reduced emissions.

The University will also be handing out prizes to individual participants including a Gryphon prize pack, gift cards and other items from hospitality services and the Central Students Association and bicycle safety kits from Speed River Bicycle. This year's grand prize is a manual lawnmower.

Last year the University received top awards for the most emissions reduced and most kilometres travelled by a sustainable mode of transportation by reducing 1.88 tons of emissions and traveling 7,910 kilometres. University community members made up 40 per cent of the city's total participation.

"There were about 300 participants city wide, with 126 from the University community," said Demers. "This year I want to see at least 300 participants from the University alone. With a summer staff of several thousand, this shouldn't be difficult."

To register, visit the commuter challenge website. Click on "Register" to start the process. Fill in the first page of the form and then click continue. On the second page select "Ontario" for province and "Guelph" for community. This will allow you to select the University of Guelph as your workplace. Throughout the week, you will log the kilometres travelled to and from work that were not spent driving alone in your car.

For those who don't have access to the Internet, packages will be delivered to departments with log sheets so employees can record their kilometres. At the end of the week, these sheets will be collected and entered into the database along with the online submissions.

Tyler Demers
Commuter Challenge co-ordinator
519-824-4120, Ext. 58129

Gillian Maurice
Sustainability Co-ordinator
519-824-4120, Ext. 58129

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1