The Office of Sustainability organizes an initiative each year to get faculty, staff, and students to use alternative transportation in their day to day. Now referred to as "Active Transportation Month", teams are asked to sign up each April and October to try alternative means of transportation, track their progress in calories-burned and CO2-saved, and benchmark against other teams. With approximately 10,500 full-time parking permits sold annually at Washington University in St. Louis, vehicles commuting to and from campus account for an estimated 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. This initiative asks community members to focus on alternative means of transportation for the month in hopes that they will continue the habit throughout the year.
This year, the department staff signed up as a team and made a strong effort to use alternative means of transportation to get to work. Some utilized the MetroLink, some rode bikes to work, and others walked to campus. They also participated in information sessions and provided feedback to the Office of Sustainability to make alternative transportation a more feasible option.
Thanks to their dedication for the month, the Department of Anthropology team won first place! Their efforts were acknowledged by the Office of Sustainability with a beautiful trophy currently displayed in the department office.
Several members of the team have commented that they will continue to use alternative methods of transportation throughout the year. Not only is it immensely beneficial to the planet but they found that it also reduced their stress, saved them money, and increased their exercise for the day.
Next year, the team hopes to expand and include more faculty members in the initiative.