The call is out for St. Thomas community members to explore different ways to get to campus: A “Commute to Campus Challenge” is running from now through May 15, encouraging Tommies to find alternatives to driving alone to and from campus.

“I’m excited to be working with our neighborhood student advisors in Off-Campus Student Life to encourage more of our neighborhood students to walk, bike, ride a scooter or skateboard, take the bus – in short, to get to and from campus some way other than driving,” said Amy Gage, neighborhood relations program director.

“When students return to campus this fall, parking will be more limited due to the construction of the chapel expansion and new residence halls,” said Amir Nadav, assistant director of campus sustainability. “As the snow melts and the weather warms up, we encourage students to participate in this challenge and take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the transportation options that are available to them.”

Last year’s sustainability survey discovered 38.6 percent of all students and 79.2 percent of employees drive alone to campus. While 88.5 percent of students who live less than one mile from campus bike, walk or skate, 51 percent of students who live between one to two miles away from campus drive alone. As the university continues to focus on implementing more sustainable practices across transportation, finding alternatives to driving alone is a huge opportunity area.

A “Bike to Campus Day” is scheduled for April 25 for all community members, and the Center for the Common Good is currently sponsoring a “Give Up Your Car for Lent” campaign. Beyond bikes, several other incentives are available, including:

  • Last year the city of St. Paul also introduced dockless electric scooters, which are anticipated to return this spring. More information about the city’s dockless bike and scooter programs is available here: https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/public-works/dockless-bikes-and-scooters.
  • HOURCAR is currently offering a discounted student membership and waiving the application fee.
  • Students can purchase from the university’s Parking and Transportation Services office a discounted College Pass, which gives them unlimited rides on local buses and light rail for a semester.

“We recognize that every individual is unique, and students will find some modes of transportation that fit their needs better than others,” Nadav said. “We aim to help students learn more about the variety of affordable transportation options that are available from campus. We hope some students will find convenient options that can offer freedom from the direct responsibilities and costs of having a personal vehicle on campus or in the neighborhood.”

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