Custodial crew cleans up Clear the Air Challenge

Left to right: Marchelle McCoy, Xavier White, and Stacy Hendricksen, show off the University of Utah’s trophy for winning the Clear the Air Challenge in the month of July. Each received accolades for being one of the top participants.

Left to right: Marchelle McCoy, Xavier White, and Stacy Hendricksen, show off the University of Utah’s trophy for winning the Clear the Air Challenge in the month of July. Each received accolades for being one of the top participants.

 By Stephanie Dolmat-Connell, Facilities Management sustainability manager

Three University employees won top prizes in the Clear the Air Challenge, the month-long competition in July sponsored by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce that encourages alternative forms of transportation to help clear the air. Each of the three employees works in Custodial Services, a division of Facilities Management at the University, and makes clean air a daily part of their routine all year long.

Xavier White, an undergraduate student in Business Information Systems and a full-time custodian, was 7th in the state with 310 alternative trips logged in July. Through taking the bus, TRAX, and walking, Xavier saved over $400 in what he would have spent on gas in that month. Xavier appreciates the Challenge each July because he likes that it’s a time for everyone to focus on another way to travel from A to B. He says, “I have more time for reading and playing games when I take public transit, and I don’t have to worry about getting into an accident. Plus, in the winter, I don’t have to deal with snow.”

Xavier won an overstock.com gift certificate and a pair of JayBird wireless earbuds.

Xavier won an overstock.com gift certificate and a pair of JayBird wireless earbuds.

Marchelle McCoy, a custodial crew leader who is also studying Business and Human Resources at Salt Lake Community College, won a special prize for being 1st in the state for the most miles and the most carbon reduced. Marchelle enjoys trip chaining, which is when you group errands or other activities into one trip instead of returning home in between each one. The more errands that are grouped together, the more vehicle trips she saves. Marchelle also carpools frequently with her children and likes spending time with them to get errands done efficiently.

Marchelle McCoy shows off her trophy won for most miles and emissions saved.

Marchelle McCoy shows off her trophy won for most miles and emissions saved.

Stacy won an Overstock gift certificate and a PowerPot V, a device that charges phones and other USB devices through heat. The PowerPot was designed by Power Practical, a student startup that sprang from research at the University of Utah.

Stacy won an Overstock gift certificate and a PowerPot V, a device that charges phones and other USB devices through heat. The PowerPot was designed by Power Practical, a student startup that sprang from research at the University of Utah.

Stacy Hendricksen, a skills trainer for Custodial Services, combined a number of different alternative trips tactics to be 10th in the state with 259 alternative trips logged. She takes UTA from Draper to get to work and also trip chains to garage sales. She carpools to her Bible classes and church. She explained, “My favorite part was that I could track every trip to understand how much gas I was saving and to see how little I could use my car.” Tracking each trip through travelwisetracker.com means she can see in real-time how many calories burned through walking, carbon dioxide tons she reduced, and money saved through not driving her car as much as she would.

Facilities Management has been one of the top teams in the Challenge for three years straight and contributed over half of the trips this year in the University of Utah collective team, despite being only 1/5th of the team’s size. Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Mike Perez supports the Challenge by encouraging his employees to log more trips than he does in the month of July. 49 FM employees took Mike up on the challenge and logged more trips than he did (56 alternative trips). Mike Perez says, “Our employees are dedicated to clean air all year round—I appreciate all of our FM employees that take transit, walk, carpool, bicycle and trip chain not only in July but in every month. Thanks to all of them, we know we are doing our part to drive down miles.”

Learn more about the University of Utah’s success at Sustainable Utah and learn more about how you can use TravelWise strategies here.

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