My friend recently got a Zipcar account, and on Wednesday night she took me and three other friends on a late night run to get wings. Needless to say, after facing the harsh reality of leaving my own car behind at home for my younger brother to use during the school year, I was thrilled to finally have access to a way of getting off campus that didn’t rely on the (let’s face it, annoyingly unreliable) university bus lines. It felt great to have some freedom back, and to be able to drive around on my own schedule – well, my friend’s schedule, but same thing. While reflecting on my wonderful newfound freedom I realized something else beautiful about the zipcar system on campus – it is a perfect example of promoting sustainability.
Zipcar truly is a wonderful service. It allows college students to have access to vehicles without the added expense of paying to keep a car on campus, and without the hassle of having to dig your car out of 4 feet of snow after every winter storm. You simply pay a discounted student fee to set up an account, and then book and pay for a vehicle for only the hours that you need it. This keeps students from having cars sitting in expensive parking spots, and it also greatly limits the number of cars on campus. By limiting the number of cars on campus, Zipcar is helping to keep Rochester more sustainable. Less cars means less fuel being used, and also means there are less cars being sold, and therefore less produced. And the number in reduction of cars isn’t insignificant – Zipcar states that “each and every Zipcar takes 15 personally-owned vehicles off the road.” The nature of Zipcar also promotes ridesharing. Why take your Zipcar out on your own when you could get a group of friends together to split the cost? It also promotes better driving practices, with 90% of Zipcar members driving 5,500 miles less per year, saving a total of 32 million gallons of crude oil.
So next time you find yourself frustrated and wanting to get off campus, consider signing up for a Zipcar account. It could save you some money, and it might just help you save the planet.
Written by Ciara McGillivray, Class of 2018