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Faculty and Staff Present Clean Commute Initiative
to UW-Eau Claire Administration

RELEASED: Sept. 14, 2007

Several UW-Eau Claire faculty members presented a signed Clean Commute Initiative Sept. 4 to Chancellor Levin-Stankevich and University Senate President Martin Wood. Pictured, clockwise from bottom left, are Wood, Doug Faulkner, Paul Kaldjian and Levin-Stankevich. (Photo by Rick Mickelson, LTS)

EAU CLAIRE — Close to 200 faculty and staff members at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have signed a Clean Commute Initiative pledging to model healthful and environmentally friendly behavior by biking, walking, Rollerblading, carpooling, or using public transportation as much as possible when traveling to and from campus.

The signed initiative was delivered Sept. 4 to Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich and Martin Wood, University Senate president and professor of English, by Bob Eierman, professor of chemistry; Doug Faulkner, associate professor of geography; Paul Wagner, associate professor of computer science; Crispin Pierce, assistant professor and program coordinator of environmental and public health; and Paul Kaldjian, associate professor of geography. Many other faculty and staff members also were involved in preparing the documents and gathering signatures on campus.

The initiative sets forth the many reasons for promoting greater use of alternative transportation methods and calls on university administrators and campus leaders to lend support for the initiative by taking immediate action toward making UW-Eau Claire a model campus for clean commuting and setting an example for positive local change.

"We talk about social and environmental problems in our classes, we encourage students to participate in improving their world, and how we travel locally is one area in which faculty and staff can model what we are encouraging," said Kaldjian."It also represents a great opportunity for the university and the greater Eau Claire community to combine efforts and resources in a project with myriad mutual benefits that go beyond the campus."

Marc Goulet, a UW-Eau Claire professor of mathematics involved in preparing the initiative, said UW-Eau Claire and the city of Eau Claire are blessed by being situated amid naturally beautiful surroundings. He believes many faculty and staff are committed to making choices in their lives that will help to preserve this beauty.

"By focusing on clean commuting, we take a small step in doing this while also interacting with the environment in a very tangible way," said Goulet. "When we walk, bike, use public transportation or carpool we also build community by engaging with others in a common purpose."

John Stupak, an instrumentation specialist in the department of physics and astronomy, agreed that faculty and staff can serve as role models for students and the community as a whole.

"With the coming shortfalls of cheap, plentiful energy, we need to step forward and promote transportation lifestyles that will benefit personal health and campus congestion while reducing city concerns about parking," Stupak said.

Actions suggested in the initiative include adding bike lockers, more bike racks and bike-friendly ramps and pathways; evaluating and implementing long-term changes to campus infrastructure to increase the flow and safety of alternative transportation options, including the addition of a user-friendly bus terminal; designating an office or official to promote carless commuting and coordinate with community members interested in similar positive changes; and providing incentives to students, faculty and staff who consistently choose to leave their cars at home.

According to those involved in leading this initiative, casual hallway conversations led to a series of small, informal meetings, which in turn led to the signed initiative.

"Numerous faculty members have already told me that since signing the initiative they have consciously considered their commute to campus and made choices ranging from selling a family car to biking to campus rather than driving." Kaldjian said.

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich noted that the Clean Commute Initiative also coincides with UW-Eau Claire's recent acceptance of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and to strategic planning goals identified by a subcommittee of the Enhancing the Campus Community Work Group.

"As we establish a steering committee to work on campus climate, the Clean Commute Initiative is certainly something that will be considered along with our other goals related to becoming a 'greener' university," said Levin-Stankevich.

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