Logan is no stranger to poor air quality, and it is particularly noticeable in the winter due to inversions. Cache Valley’s surrounding mountains trap a layer of cold air and pollution beneath warm air in the winter until a storm comes through. Wintertime inversions and red air days can contribute to many health issues, ranging from asthma to heart attacks and lung conditions.
This is where Utah State University’s Sustainability’s Keep Logan Clear campaign comes in. Keep Logan Clear is a month-long campaign hosted by USU Sustainability and the Aggie Commuter Club each year. It aims to promote alternative forms of transportation, educate students and community members about air quality and decrease the number of single-occupant vehicle commutes.
Throughout the month of February, USU competed against businesses, universities and organizations statewide to reduce emissions and save CO2. Participants logged their trips on the TravelWise Tracker and were encouraged to use alternative forms of transportation like biking, walking, carpooling or taking the bus to save CO2 and money. Over the course of the month, USU saved over 8,000 lbs. of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
“This year was USU’s first year participating in the TravelWise Clear the Air Challenge, and I’m very happy with the results,” said USU Air Quality intern Lily Martindale. “The pandemic has added another layer of complexity, but I’ve been impressed as I’ve seen students, faculty and staff from USU show so much interest in our air quality.”
According to Martindale, there has been a surge in the number of people teleworking and it was one of the most tracked modes of travel throughout the challenge. She hopes workplaces will continue to utilize teleworking as a strategy to save time, money and CO2 emissions.
As part of the campaign, over 50 students came together and showed their support for the community, clean air and sustainable transportation at the Thank a Bus Driver event by writing thank you notes to local bus drivers.
“You are the unsung heroes of each day,” one student wrote. Bus drivers were pleasantly surprised to receive a thank you note and treat that showed people still cared, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.