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Look mom, no gasoline!

July 6, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Facilities Management officials at Western Michigan University have taken numerous steps to reduce energy consumption across their workplace and workforce, including introducing electric vehicles and promoting bicycle transportation.

Peter Strazdas, associate vice president for Facilities Management, says his unit's efforts are a response to WMU's creation and implementation of a campuswide sustainability policy. The policy helps advance responsible environmental stewardship and ecologically sustainable resource use across the University.

"Our introduction of electric and other energy-efficient vehicles has reduced use of natural resources, lowered the carbon footprint on our campus, and is saving the Facilities Management department time and money," Strazdas says. "We'll be utilizing more bicycles and electric vehicles every year. It's the right thing to do."

Greg Roseboom, utility manager in Facilities Management, has nothing but positive feedback when it comes to the electric vehicle he and his students use to complete various work tasks.

"Electrical vehicles certainly have their limits, but they definitely have their place on our campus," Roseboom says.

Bicycles also have found a place on campus, and several Facilities Management employees are using them to go green--before, during and after their workday.

Norm Risk, a maintenance services supervisor, uses a bike on campus for the sheer convenience of quickly getting to where he needs to be to do his job.

That's just one of many reasons to bike for Kirk Dillery, who estimates that he rides from five to 10 miles each day on campus. Dillery, an energy systems specialist, says biking has always been an important part of his life, and that it not only saves him time, but also has positively impacted his overall health.

Erik Dantes, information technology manager, started peddling six miles to and from work about two years ago when his family downsized to one car. In addition to just enjoying the ride, he appreciates the health benefits and cost savings that have resulted from switching modes of transportation.

Meanwhile, George Jarvis has been biking to work for years. Jarvis, power plant director, says he rides in all weather conditions and is relieved when his workday ends and he's breezing past motorists in gas-consuming vehicles stuck in heavy traffic.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400