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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Jan. 16, 2009

Car pool program

Colleen Rogers (right), organizer of a spring effort to reduce mileage by ISU drivers, joins fellow Council on Sustainability steering committee members Janet Krengel and Bill Diesslin in an employee parking lot. Krengel heads the sustainability council and is a longtime carpooler. Diesslin stars in a video series on saving energy in the office and lab at

Try a day, or days, without driving

by Diana Pounds

Every weekday, the 100 or so employees in the ISU Foundation drive more than 2,200 miles to and from work.

With a little organization, Colleen Rogers, director of development for the College of Design, thought it might be possible to reduce that mileage. So, last spring, she organized the foundation's first annual "Drive Not to Drive" -- a one-week event during which staff were urged to carpool or take public transportation to work.

A quarter of foundation staff joined the effort for one or more days. By week's end, they'd saved 387 miles and reduced their usual greenhouse emissions by 387 pounds.

Foundation drivers will try to save even more fuel this spring during the second Drive to Not Drive week in March or April. Rogers, who is a member of the President's Advisory Committee on Energy Conservation and Global Climate Change as well as the Council on Sustainability, urges other campus units to organize similar efforts.

"My intent in organizing this effort was to take the issue of global climate change to a level where individuals can experience first-hand how their decisions to carpool or take the bus to work for one day can have an impact," Rogers said. "If a quarter of all Iowa State employees and students carpooled or rode the bus for one day, the decrease in greenhouse gas emissions would be significant."

Here are her tips for planning a Drive to Not Drive event in your office:

  • Select a day or days for the event.
  • Obtain home addresses of colleagues who'd like to participate.
  • Chart participants' mileage from home to the office and make a map showing each participant's address (Google Maps or Mapquest works well for these tasks).
  • Provide the map to participants so they can identify potential carpooling partners.
  • Ask colleagues to report with whom they drove or how they got to work (for example, bus, bike or car) to determine the number of miles saved on each day of the event.
  • Subtract the number of miles driven during the event from the miles that would have been driven on a regular day. Every mile saved translates into one fewer pound of greenhouse gases spilling into the atmosphere.
  • If desired, award a prize to the driver who saves the most miles. Or draw a prize winner from the list of participants.

In the next Inside, learn about ISU's vanpool program and how to join.

Live Green!

More information on Iowa State's "Live Green!" initiative is online.