Use your U-Pass for a greener commute
Commuting to campus just became a lot more eco-friendly for students who live in the greater Edmonton area—and you don’t need two wheels and a helmet either.
Expansions made to the U-Pass program will make low-impact transportation more accessible for five areas surrounding Edmonton. This year, students in the municipalities of Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove, Sherwood Park and St. Albert have unlimited access to Edmonton’s bus and LRT systems.
Emma Patterson, vice-president of operations and finance for the Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU), says the pass is invaluable to university students—and a recent referendum confirmed that.
Students vote to maintain or eliminate the mandatory U-Pass fee every four years, and the 2017 results were quite telling. A whopping 87 per cent of students voted to maintain the $170 fee.
"It's an overwhelming amount,” says Emma. “It's the strongest vote in favour we've had so far."
The U-Pass provides students with the opportunity to ditch the car in favour of modes of transportation that have a minimal impact on the environment. Low-impact or “alternative” forms of transportation emit a small amount of carbon dioxide per capita.
Last winter, more than 12,000 students slapped the U-Pass sticker on their ID cards—making for a lot of bus and LRT rides. If all of those students suddenly decided to start driving, greenhouse gas emissions would skyrocket.
Make the most of your eco-friendly commute
Emma encourages students to make the most of their eco-friendly commutes.
"I use my commute as my relaxation time," she says. "It's nice to just sit on the bus and not have anything to do."
Want to de-stress after a busy day? Emma recommends listening to music, audiobooks or podcasts. Students can also use their green commutes as an opportunity to catch up on readings or homework.
“The U-Pass can be helpful for more than going to and from school," she adds, noting that it provides students with a safe and cheap means of transportation when they’re out and about.
Students enrolled in at least one credit course can pick up their fall U-Pass sticker at the SAM Centre.
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