Latest Eco-News & Events at JMU

Renee -- October 12th, 2008

James Madison University announced the formation of “The Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World” in September, which will be led by Dr. Christie-Joy Brodrick Hartman, formerly a professor in the Integrated Science and Technology department. President Linwood Rose’s “Commission on Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability” recommended the action of forming the Institute to help JMU pursue sustainable practices and environmental outreach.

Two upcoming events showcase JMU’s effort to improve its environmental-friendliness:

  • Monday 10/13/08 from 6pm-8pm, the JMU Alternative Fuel Vehicle Lab is having an open house to display current student projects, and examples of new alternative vehicle technologies, like a prototype of a diesel-hybrid truck. Visit the lab’s website at http://www.jmuafv.org
  • Wednesday 10/15/08 is JMU Clean Energy Coalition’s “No Drive Day,” where people traveling to JMU’s campus are enouraged to walk, ride a bike, or take the bus, or carpool instead of driving. Last year on “No Drive Day”, there were about 2800 fewer vehicles on campus than usual, and it is estimated that the effort reduced the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by 5 tons. Some parking lots will be reserving prime parking spots for carpoolers, and T-shirts will be given out to participating students. More information is available on the JMU announcement page.

According to JMU, other “green” efforts include:

“the ongoing construction of the university’s new LEED-certified dining facility, the “greening” of the Office of International Programs, formation of an eco-community residential experience, installation of a green roof, faculty climate research and renewable energy demonstrations.”

11 Responses to “Latest Eco-News & Events at JMU”

  1. Thanh says:

    I am really excited for the possibilities Dr. Brodrick Hartman and the Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World will bring to JMU and our community!

    Also, I’m also really happy to see that last semester’s No Drive Day was such a success that the adminstration, faculty, and students are bringing a second round of it! Here are some more numbers from last year’s No Drive Day, shared to me from JMU’s Transportation Demand Manager:

    “During the 5 hours that the No Drive Day event went on (7AM-12PM) traffic on campus was reduced by 9.19% or 1,340 fewer vehicles. From 14,574 observed on 3/26/08 to 13,234 observed on 4/2/08.

    During the 12 hour period of the entire day (7AM-7PM) traffic on campus was reduced by 7.7%, or 2,801 fewer vehicles. From 36,381 observed on 3/26/08 to 33,580 observed on 4/2/08.

    Transit ridership also experienced a sharp increase. Bus riders increased by 14.06%, from 7,186 on 3/26/08 to 8,196 on 4/2/08.

    Based on 2801 fewer vehicles driven on 4/2, with an average of 3 miles per vehicle, here are the emissions reductions as calculated on the ICLEI software, using a standard passenger vehicle:

    5 tons CO2
    27 lbs NOx
    2 lbs SOx
    306 lbs CO
    32 lbs VOCs
    1 lb PM10

    A little hard to picture, but just imagine 8400 fewer vehicular miles driven. Its only 2800 miles from here to Seattle.”

    The last two lines/statements is really important. :)

  2. Renee says:

    Wow, the equivalent of several cross-country trips in 12 hours – it’s amazing how much emissions one community driving relatively short distances generates.

  3. Thanh says:

    BTW, thanks Renee for bringing this topic to our attention! You can probably tell from my previous posts on hburgnews that I enjoy these conversations. :)

  4. David Miller says:

    Thanh

    We can tell, I’m so glad for it. It’s nice to have dialog on the subject. Please tell me about the last two lines that you mentioned.

  5. Thanh says:

    David, I must not have explained myself well. Sorry. By my saying: “The last two lines/statements is really important” I was referring to: “A little hard to picture, but just imagine 8400 fewer vehicular miles driven. Its only 2800 miles from here to Seattle.”

    These statistics on equivalent miles driven helped me put into perspective what kind of impact No Drive Day has. I know that driving a car puts out a lot of pollutants into our atmosphere and that these pollutants have resipiratory and environmental consequences, but even for an environmental professional such as myself “5 tons CO2, 27 lbs NOx, 2 lbs SOx, 306 lbs CO, 32 lbs VOCs, 1 lb PM10” doesn’t really mean much to me.

    8,400 miles is a lot of driving and a lot of unnecessary pollutants when there are alternatives (walking, biking, bus) available!

    (And I shall add a disclaimer here that I too am an animal of habit and although I am riding my bike to work, I am not yet riding everyday as I should be. Working on it. :)

    On a somewhat related note: Check this out. Cyclist for the Bay.

  6. David Miller says:

    Thanh

    I don’t ride everyday either, normally because of cargo issues. At least it’s better than never riding. The sad thing is that we rely on taxes (like fuel taxes) to fund our roads. New roads require (if I remember correctly) bike lanes that then decrease the tax base. Bike tax anyone?

  7. David Miller says:

    Or better yet, make roads that only bikes can travel on. Really give people a reason to get out of their cars, make it more convenient.

  8. finnegan says:

    Here’s one, sort of off-topic: if you live downtown (say, East Market near Court Square, for example) and you have no place for your bike inside, where are you supposed to lock it? There are no nearby bike racks, and I see bikes chained to parking signs, but I’ve also heard of bikes being impounded by police for that.

  9. David Miller says:

    Finn

    That is an issue that we are actively trying to find a solution to. The trick is the width of the sidewalks there, they wouldn’t be the necessary 36″ if a rack was added via the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  10. Renee says:

    What about the city “renting” a yearly space in corner of the meter parking lot (next to the music store) for a bike rack? I know there’s a need for more than one rack, but that’s a central place the city could start with, and I know whoever owns that lot will rent people a “reserved” space for a fee, I wonder if that could be a short-term partial solution?

  11. Renee says:

    Thanh, you’re welcome! Glad to be able to participate in hburgnews :)

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