Get out of the car and bike, bus, ferry, or walk around the beautiful green city of Halifax for a week.
That’s the goal of the nationwide Commuter Challenge, held this year from June 3-9. It’s Dalhousie’s second year participating in the challenge, which gets thousands of people across Canada out of their cars and onto the streets for seven days.
Last year, 137 participants took part at Dalhousie, the most of any registered workplace in Nova Scotia. The Dal winner was Roland Hudson, assistant professor in the Faculty of Architecture and Planning. He says, for him, cycling just makes sense.
“The feeling of passing stationary traffic, each car with a single person, is incredible and the obvious time-saving adds to the pleasure of riding,” he says.
Dalhousie participants burned a combined total of 161,768 calories during the Commuter Challenge last year by engaging in active transportation. They saved a combined 745 litres of fuel by traveling without their car, or by carpooling in some cases. They travelled 11,365 kilometres while avoiding 1,829 kilograms of CO2 emissions.
Given that’s it’s been a green spring, and since the challenge occurs in close proximity to HRM’s Bike Week and Canada’s Environment Week, it’s a great time to think about sustainable ways to get to campus.
“Dalhousie strives to be an institutional model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, implementing adaptation strategies, and increasing knowledge of climate change issues for students and employees,” says Caroline King with Dal’s Office of Sustainability, and who is this year’s challenge co-ordinator for campus. “The Commuter Challenge supports these goals.”
Sign up to take part
The challenge is open to everyone and it’s easy to register. Just sign up at the Commuter Challenge website as part of Dalhousie. During the week, you can sign in each day to track the distances you travel and your mode of transportation. At the end of the week, you’ll receive the impact data associated with the types of transportation used, including calories burned, fuel saved, and CO2 emissions avoided.
There are numerous prizes being given out from Clean Nova Scotia, including a $100 Mountain Equipment Co-op gift card. Dal’s Office of Sustainability is also giving out prizes: if you email a short story or poem about your commute to email@example.com, you’ll be entered in a draw for an iPod shuffle.
Sign up and try it out for a week – as Derek Gillis, Commuter Challenge co-ordinator from Clean Nova Scotia, notes, it’s a chance to experience your surroundings a little differently.
"The Commuter Challenge is an opportunity for people to experience their relationship with mobility in new ways,” he explains. “By choosing to drive less, people can explore their commute and communities anew.”
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