IT Trades In Vans For 'Green' Wheels

The Information Technology staff are not only getting around campus faster and more efficiently these days - they're also getting around greener.

IT has replaced two gasoline-powered mini-vans with two bicycles and two electric golf carts with enclosed storage on the back. The new vehicles are getting great reviews both from the students and staff who use them and from the students and staff they're assisting.

Student Services Coordinator Steve Millington says that the new vehicles are easier to maneuver around campus, so those in need of help with computers can get it faster than ever. Another plus is that the vehicles can get closer to buildings than vans, so hauling equipment is easier than ever.

The department still has one van, for transporting equipment that won't fit on bikes or carts, but even that may change soon. Millington notes that with the trend of electronics becoming smaller - think tablets instead of desktops - the staff now rarely has to use the van.

One test remains for the vehicles: the North Country winter. The University's facilities staff use similar carts year-round, so it is likely that those will be used during the winter, but Millington says the continuing use of bicycles may depend upon how much snow and ice accumulates.

"We're really excited that we have found alternatives that align with our goal of being as environmentally sustainable as possible," Millington said. "And they have not limited our ability to get our job done."

Millington says, "I think that people also enjoy a little breeze in their face periodically throughout the day. I know I do!"

The IT department's commitment to sustainability extends beyond vehicles. For at least the past five years, requests for proposals from the department has stated that vendors must demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability in its manufacturing, shipping, energy consumption and use of recycled materials. Vendors must also certify that, if they recycle old and used computer equipment, that the equipment is repurposed or disposed of properly, according to the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) for hazardous waste.