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UM “Chills Out” and Wins

April 16, 2008

Missoula, MT – Cruising around campus at the University of Montana these days most likely involves bus riding, biking or walking--NOT driving a car. It's the result of a student-run transit system that discourages driving in order to reduce climate change pollution. The system is unique, and has just won an award in a nationwide competition.

"Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming," sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), received entries from schools around the country. One came from UM, where campus buses use biodiesel and free bikes are available on campus. The availability of these alternative transportation modes has encouraged more than 40 percent of the university's students to walk, bus or bike to school.

The NWF's Jennifer Fournelle says UM was the only university that kept track of its impact on carbon dioxide and other types of global warming pollution.

"This is one of the reasons that the students are doing this. They saved 170 tons of CO2 from being emitted by doing all these things on campus."

The transit system at UM is also the only student-run system in the country, Fournelle adds, and its organizers have been aggressive in encouraging their fellow students to use it. She hopes the UM story will inspire all Montanans to take a look at what they can do to reduce climate change pollution.

"You think about your electricity--and we want to make it clear that electricity use is definitely a huge part of it--but transportation is another big part."

More information on the awards is available at www.campuschillout.org.

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MT