Saving green before going green

Ready to share the morning routine with Northern Kentucky University? A new survey sent out to a selected group of faculty, staff and students is asking questions about one part of their morning routine: How do they get to campus?

Data collected from the survey will be used to decide whether or not to promote a rideshare (carpooling) program among the NKU community. The Office of Planning says the goal is to find out the best way to reduce traffic on campus, the largest single contributor to NKU’s carbon footprint, or amount of emitted greenhouse gas pollutants.

NKU students already endorsed the creation of a ride share board in November 2010 through a resolution passed by the Student Government Association, but that board has not yet been created by the university.

“NKU is very responsible in the way they spend money, and before we provide a service we have to ensure that any service we purchase is going to be used,” Jane Goode, campus space and planning coordinator, said when asked about the purpose of the survey.

John Jose, one of the sponsors of the SGA resolution, agreed and said he is pleased with the pace at which the university has reacted to the resolution.

“I think it’s going through the proper procedure,” Jose said. “It’s also something that the administration was already working towards on it kind of just fell together.”

The magnitude of what SGA asked for in the resolution merits additional research, according to Jose.

“I don’t think that’s a small change and this school’s never had this before,” Jose said. “[Rideshare is] something that’s going to basically change a lot of commuters and students minds to save gas and save money.”

Jose said he also supports the survey, which SGA joined Campus Planning in promoting, because the information it collects will be useful in developing other “green” initiatives aimed at reducing the university’s level of pollution in the community.

The survey asks students whether or not they utilize public transportation, bicycles or their personal vehicles when traveling to campus and whether or not they share rides with others or would be wiling to do so if a system was in place to find people with similar schedules.

The survey is also designed to find out how things compared to a similar, less comprehensive survey conducted in spring 2008, according to Goode.

“We felt that things have changed a bit in three years,” Goode said, adding that the sustainability movement in 2008 was “not big…but it’s bigger now.”

Students and staff selected to be part of the random sample should have received an invitation to complete it from University President James Votruba, Jose said. Everyone selected for the sample is strongly encouraged by campus planning and student government to participate. Some participants will receive prizes.

Goode said the university is not spending any green on the survey and has found a vendor that lets the university sample their service for free for this survey.

For students and staff not selected to be in the random sample, Goode still invites them to submit feedback on whether or not they support and would use a ride share program by commenting on its Facebook page located at

Story by Jesse Call