In today’s society, most people want to live more sustainably but are not sure where to start. One of the biggest contributors to climate change is the transportation sector. According to UBCO’s Sustainability Office, the average BC driver emits 3.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

To tackle this issue, the Sustainability Office is introducing the 2019 Campus Commuter Challenge to encourage staff and students to challenge their current habits by choosing greener ways to get to campus. This is a nation-wide challenge aimed at reducing carbon emissions associated with commuting to post-secondary campuses in Canada.

Participating is as simple as using an alternative method to commute to campus versus using a single-occupancy mode. The Sustainability Office is encouraging commuters to bike, bus, roll, carpool or walk to campus.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, each suggested alternative has its own set of health or social benefits. For example, walking, rolling and cycling are all great ways to improve physical and mental health, whereas taking the bus is a great way to catch up with a friend or finish a good book.

Photo by Andrea Marie Tan
Photo by Andrea Marie Tan

Students and staff can register online by entering their name, faculty and typical mode of transportation. Participants must log their commuter trips between September 23 and October 4 to capture their efforts and be eligible for prizes. Throughout these two weeks, additional events will take place in the main courtyard to celebrate participation through workshops and challenges.

Last year, participants in a province-wide initiative called the BC Commuter Challenge saved 43 tonnes of carbon dioxide in just one week. That is the equivalent of 12 people’s commutes for an entire year. The Sustainability Office is looking forward to having similar success through the UBCO Community’s participation in the 2019 Campus Commuter Challenge.