A group of students at Memorial University’s St. John’s campus will promote the health and environmental benefits of having an idle free university next week.
It’s all part of a unique education and awareness campaign aimed at advocating for a cleaner campus.
From Sept. 11-14, the green-minded students will approach vehicles stopped to pick up passengers to let them know they’re in an idle free zone.
Motorists are discouraged from keeping their vehicle’s engines running while waiting outside of any Memorial building. With the start of the fall semester underway, thousands of students and employees are being picked up and dropped off at the university each day and organizers of the campaign want to get their message out to those and others coming onto campus.
“Unnecessarily idling your vehicle wastes your money and releases harmful greenhouse gas emissions into the environment,” said Shelley Pardy, Memorial’s sustainability co-ordinator and one of the organizers of the event.
“The generally accepted rule of thumb is if you are idling for more than 10 seconds you are burning more energy than it takes to stop and start your vehicle. Not idling helps your budget and the health of people and the environment, and is as easy as a turn of the wrist.”
During the campaign, student volunteers will approach vehicles and hand out information flyers from Natural Resources Canada highlighting the economic and environmental benefits of not idling a vehicle. For those vehicles that have their engines turned off, the students will offer them a window decal to put in their vehicle to indicate they do not idle.
The Idle Free Campaign takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 11, and Friday, Sept. 14, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in front of the Arts and Administration Building off of Elizabeth Ave., as well as Wednesday, Sept. 12, and Thursday, Sept. 13, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in front of the Education Building off Westerland Rd.
“There are idle free zones on the St. John’s campus and permanent signage to that effect was erected this summer,” said Ms. Pardy. “To complement the placement of that signage, the Sustainability Office wanted to hold a short-term, but possibly periodic, campaign to make the university community aware that this is an idle free campus.”
Volunteers with MUN Project Green will help during the campaign which is being facilitated by Sustainability Office with support of Memorial’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability, the Department of Facilities Management, Campus Enforcement and Patrol, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association’s Idle Free Schools campaign.
“Overall we would like the entire university and larger community know that the campus is an idle free zone and to know that MUN is working towards becoming more environmentally sustainable,” said Ms. Pardy.