Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine recently selected Raleigh, N.C.-based NC State University (NCSU) as one of its top five “greenest schools” in the Southeastern U.S.
Universities were evaluated on factors such as renewable energy, energy conservation, food, alternative transportation, LEED/green building, recycling, environmental studies, green space and campus conservation and outdoor recreation.
In particular, NCSU was chosen for the list because of its variety of alternative transportation options. The University offers free commuting options, including the “GoPass” a regional transit pass that is available to all students and staff to ride free on local Capitol Area Transit (CAT) and regional Triangle Transit (TT) buses and “WolfWheels,” a bike rental program that launched March 29.
NCSU’s Wolfline transit system fleet is comprised of 30 buses for the campus and operates 11 daytime and three evening routes. “There are three major Wolfline transit hubs on campus and approximately 100 total bus stops, both on and off campus. Wolfline is free and open to the public,” explained Alison Carpenter, transportation planner. In addition, she pointed out, Wolfline buses run on clean diesel.
The University campus also offers ample, covered bike parking at major buildings and parking areas, including several bike racks at high-volume bus shelters. Some campus buildings provide clothing lockers and shower facilities. While there are currently no bike racks on Wolfline buses, the University is researching options. CAT and TT buses do offer bike racks on all buses.
Currently, NCSU is planning to install at least one bike locker near a popular bus stop serving Wolfline, CAT and TT routes, said Caprenter. “Campus streets feature sharrow (shared lane) markings to raise awareness of bicycles on campus and the University's Campus Recreation Department recently debuted a campus bike rental program called WolfWheels,” she added.
As the system continues to evolve, the NCSU Transportation Office meets regularly with students, faculty and staff to discuss transit operations and other campus transportation logistics. The University's Physical Environment Committee (PEC) consists of students, faculty and staff, who meet monthly to analyze transit data and review recommended service upgrades or changes, as well as other transportation issues. The Transportation office often meets with student groups working on class projects, as well as groups representing special campus interests who may have concerns about transit service to their department or area of campus.
In addition, the transportation office works with other campus departments to coordinate transit service to class schedules each semester and keeps in contact with Student Government and Faculty/Staff/Student Senates on related issues. The Transportation department hires student interns (including an NCSU engineering student) to help conduct transit data analysis and other technical functions. Finally, special planning processes typically involve student, faculty and staff representatives on ad-hoc review committees.
Other schools that made the magazine’s Top 5 Greenest Schools in the Southeast list were Emory University and Georgia Tech University, both located in Atlanta, Durham, N.C.’s Duke University and Chapel Hill, N.C.-based University of North Carolina.