By Ayrel Clark-Proffitt, Sustainability Office
I care! We care! The U cares about clean air!
That’s the chant going through my head right now as I celebrate the University of Utah’s win—nay dominance—of the 2015 Clear the Air Challenge. University of Utah members logged 15,462 trips by means other than single-occupant vehicles. We walked, biked, rode transit, carpooled, tripchained, skipped trips, or worked from home more than any other organization in the challenge.
The Clear the Air Challenge is an annual Utah-based competition that promotes alternative forms of transportation. The challenge, which is hosted by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, is all about improving air quality, reducing traffic congestion, and conserving energy in Utah by eliminating unnecessary vehicle trips.
The U beat the second place team by more than 3,000 trips. Nine University teams placed in the top 100. But it is probably fair to say that the U would not be on top without its most active team, Facilities Management. Without the 7,926 trips contributed by the Facilities team, the U would drop to 8th place. The 197 members from Facilities represent more than 50 percent of all trips logged by the U, though just 1/5 of the total University challenge membership.
“We’re really excited about the enthusiasm, both from our Green Team and the participating employees,” said Facilities team manager Stephanie Dolmat-Connell. “We had a goal to achieve 5 percent more trips logged than last year, and we exceeded our goal, as well as increased our total membership.”
In addition to Facilities Management, the following University teams placed in the top 100:
- U of U College of Law, 917 trips
- U of U Hospital-ITS, 771 trips
- U of U Biochemistry, 678 trips
- U of U Huntsman Cancer Institute, 598 trips
- U of U Sustainability, 581 trips
- U of U College of Nursing, 492 trips
- U of U Psychology Department, 404 trips
- U of U Students, 310 trips
Now that the challenge is over, remember to keep up the habits you learned during the competition. Keep carpooling with your neighbor. Remember the times and frequency of your nearest bus. Drag your bike on the urban gondola, ie TRAX, to avoid biking up the hill (or better yet, train yourself to ride up on the routes that are not as steep – you’ll be healthier for it). Stop at the grocery store on your way home from campus to save money and conserve gas.
Lastly, stay tuned for a winter competition that pits the U’s teams against each other!