By Stephanie Dolmat-Connell, sustainability manager for Facilities Management, and Sarah Lappé, outreach coordinator for the Sustainability Office
The leaves are turning colors and beginning to fall, which means that many of you are booking your travel for this year’s conference circuit. You will be jumping onto planes, hopping into cars and gathering for keynote speeches, breakout sessions and networking opportunities—you can almost smell the coffee and pastries now.
Traveling is something we do for both pleasure and work; however, when we travel, we produce pollution. These emissions are often unavoidable, so it is up to you to make the choice to offset your travel impacts. The U offers an exciting new program that can help make a difference right here on campus.
Donate to the Green Travel Fund. Faculty, staff and students who travel on behalf of the university can make a tax-deductible donation to the University of Utah’s Green Travel Fund that goes directly toward renewable energy projects and energy efficiency on campus. These projects reduce the U’s emissions, thereby counterbalancing travel impacts. The Green Travel Fund will support campus projects such as the installation of solar panels, energy-efficient lighting and more. Sustainability and energy staff on campus are looking forward to seeing what kind of impact the U’s travel community chooses to make. One small donation by each traveler can add up to make a big difference in the U’s footprint.
How does the Green Travel Fund work? One simple step.
Ask your travel preparer to click the “Yes, I will donate” box on the final reimbursement form when registering a trip through the Travel Department. Travelers can give our suggested amount of $10 or choose any different amount. It is your responsibility to ask your travel preparer to click “Yes.” Every dollar donated will make a difference.
Why is this important?
In 2014, U students and employees traveled more than 16 million miles by air and more than 1 million miles by car. This accounts for less than 5 percent of the University of Utah’s carbon footprint—the majority of our tracked greenhouse gas emissions (75 percent) are from the natural gas and electricity used to run campus buildings. By choosing to donate to the Green Travel Fund, travelers can directly help decrease the U’s carbon footprint through energy projects.
We’ll keep you and everyone who donates updated on the exciting projects that are born through the Green Travel Fund.
A special thank you to the Travel Department, Tax Services, Accounting, Development Office and Facilities Management for making this program possible. And to all of the U’s travelers and travel reporters for supporting the program.