This past fall, undergraduate health communication and software engineering students were asked to work together to design an application that would improve accessibility around Wake Forest’s campus.
From wheelchairs to long boards, students considered the unique ways people maneuver around our 340 acres each day. One student team chose cycling, a theme proposed by the Office of Sustainability that supports our campus-wide transportation demand management goals. The collaboration showcases the advantages of faculty working transdisciplinarily to solve big problems and the benefits of engaged learning for sustainability.
“Working with the theme of sustainability was interesting,” said Jesse Akman, a junior who developed an application for cyclists with his partner, sophomore Adelina Cato, “we ended up looking at a lot of statistics about bikes saving CO2 and alternative transportation options.”
Akman, a Computer Science and Philosophy double major, took the Health Communication course with Professor Steve Giles as an elective. Cato registered because it applied to her pre-med requisites.
The application’s map-like format is interactive and specific for bike users, explained Cato. It is similar to Ride the Wake, a smartphone application developed by another computer science class that provides users with a real-time locater map for the shuttles that transport students to and from off-campus apartments and other locations.
Giles and Professor of Computer Science, Paul Pauca, realized how beneficial collaboration could be after working together on a grant proposal to develop a smoking cessation application.
“We both knew that our disciplines complemented the other,” said Giles, “but we struggled to really understand what the other person did within his discipline.”
By connecting the two classes, the computer science students were challenged to think about health problems and user interaction with an application, while the communication students learned how to develop the actual technology that makes their creative ideas possible.
Pauca, who bikes to work and stores his set of wheels in his office each morning, explained how groups such as Akman’s had to understand how different people approach biking and what major barriers might prevent them from doing so, such as motivation, convenience, or even physical barriers, like stairs.
“For me, it’s transportation, but if I am elder, I would want to make sure I take the path that is safer,” said Pauca.
Pauca’s youngest child inspired his first experience developing an application when he was diagnosed with Pitt Hopkins Syndrome. Named VerbalVictor for his son, Pauca’s program helps to reduce the high price and bulkiness of existing tools available to people challenged by the genetic disorder. VerbalVictor can be downloaded to a smartphone for just $11.99.
Though this semester’s student applications are not ready to sell in an online application store, they are still significant achievements. “The process itself has educational value,” said Pauca, “and it also allows students to create something of value to society.”
According to Giles, the goal for the application is to build it for Wake with the hope that it could ultimately be replicated for other college campuses.
“I’m hopeful we can do this again in the future,” said Giles on the coming together of the two classes, “and perhaps be more strategic in building this collaboration into other courses.”
By Sydney Leto (’14), Staff Writer
This coming April, Wake Forest will host our inaugural Champions of Change award ceremony.
In March, we will accept nominations for awards that honor sustainability through:
- resource conservation (energy, water, or waste reduction),
- academics (teaching, research, engaged learning),
- service and social action, and
- bright ideas (innovative ideas that have been or could be implemented).
We look forward to hearing about the work of all the inspiring change agents across campus.
“Alternative” may have connotations of “underground” or “independent,” but the Office of Sustainability hopes alternative transportation brings to mind a sense of open sharing and community at Wake Forest University. With options including the car sharing program Zipcar and the campus carpool network Zimride, Wake Forest faculty, staff, and students have access to transportation without bringing a car to campus.
WFU now offers four Zipcars on campus, including an additional car by the new residence halls on the North side of campus. To access the vehicles, and the international Zipcar network, anyone with a wfu.edu email address can join for a reduced first-year fee of $25 with the promo code B2S2013. New members also receive $45 of free driving credit to try out the program in the first month. Depending on the vehicle, rates start at $7.50/hr or $69/day and include gas and insurance. Unlike traditional rentals, Zipcar for Universities only requires drivers to be 18 or older and have a valid driver’s license (international drivers are welcome). In addition to personal accounts, faculty and staff can create departmental Zipcar accounts and reserve Zipcars for WFU-related travel.
Members can reserve Zipcars for an hour or a whole weekend, depending upon need. The free iOS Zipcar app makes on-the-fly reservations even easier. As Zipcar likes to emphasize, it’s like owning a car without the hassle.
For anyone with a vehicle on campus who is looking to share a ride, Zimride is available to facilitate carpooling. With a wfu.edu email address or a Facebook login, prospective carpool partners can register trips through the secure network. The free iOS Zimride app also puts the power to post or request a ride in the hands of the user. A Zimride member can offer a ride for free or ask passengers to help cover the costs of the trip. Either way, extra cars are off the road during rush hour, busy weekends, and holiday travel times. For a daily commute, a shared ride to a meeting, or a trip out of town, Zimride helps make the match.
By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability
The University Corporate Center now has three parking spaces dedicated to electric vehicles. Parking and Transportation installed outlets at these spaces, allowing Wake Forest staff to charge up during the work day. Alex Crist, the director of Parking and Transportation, explains “the decision to dedicate three spaces was instrumental in a couple employees making the decision to purchase an electric vehicle, as they wanted to ensure the vehicle could be charged during the day.”
Electric vehicles convert about 59–62% of electrical energy to power at the wheels, while conventional automobiles only convert about 17–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels. In addition to being more energy efficient, electric vehicles are quieter and produce no exhaust emissions (although there are emissions associated with the production of electric power).
By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustainability
Earlier this month, nearly sixty people turned out for the WFU Campus / Community Bike Ride. The event was designed to increase bicycle awareness on and off-campus, and to draw attention to the need for improved bicycle and pedestrian corridors between WFU and downtown Winston-Salem.
The event was the result of a collaborative effort among several campus and community organizations. The WFU Institute for Public Engagement was the primary financial supporter, and the WFU Office of Academic Advising and Sociology Department spearheaded organizational efforts at Wake Forest. Three community groups, Winston-Salem Community Bike Ride, WS Greenways, the Winston-Salem Bicycle Cooperative, donated their time and organizational resources to make the event a success.
And what a success it was! Undergrads, graduate students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members were all represented.
The event kicked off with words of welcome from Matthew Burczyk, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for Winston-Salem, and one of the organizers of the Winston-Salem Community Bike Ride. After a quick refresher on bicycle safety, the group headed down the trail to Reynolda Village, past the Reynolda House, through Graylyn, and then through beautiful Buena Vista. A quick free-ride down Runnymede, and then a slow climb up Glade and Fourth Streets led us to Caffe Prada, where everyone enjoyed free gelato from Caffe Prada (thank you, Institute for Public Engagement!).
The organizers hope that the WFU Campus / Community Bike Ride will be an annual event, but for those who cannot wait for more community biking, the best bet is to join up with the weekly Winston-Salem Community Bike Ride. The group meets every Sunday at 3:00 P.M. at Caffe Prada, and each week explores a different bike routes throughout Winston-Salem. The rides, typically 8 – 10 miles, are open to everyone regardless of age or skill level.
Contributed by Catherine E. Harnois, Associate Professor of Sociology
Photo courtesy of Bill Petrie Jr.
Zimride is a ride-sharing program that has harnessed the networking capacities of social media infrastructure to facilitate carpooling. While ride-sharing is a familiar concept, the Zimride program is quite different than the more classic variety of ride-sharing programs that inevitably involves a bulletin board and spidery strings of yarn.
Zimride began to reinvigorate ideas about ride-sharing in 2007 when they first launched the program at Cornell University and University of California Santa Barbara, the alma maters of the two co-founders, Logan Green and John Zimmer (not the source of the Zim in Zimride). The two figured that a ride-sharing network specific to a single college campus could ensure that users were heading to the same places and would relieve the anxiety of traveling with complete strangers. The program proved a huge success in Ithaca and Santa Barbara and has since spread to 125 college campuses and 350,000 users. It is now the largest ride-sharing community in the country, helping to fill the 70-80% of seats on American highways that typically go empty.
In August, Wake Forest became one of the 125 campuses to adopt Zimride. Andrew Smith of the Office of International Affairs is among many to have joined the network here. Upon creating a Zimride profile, Andrew connected with Kyle Denlinger, a fellow staff member living three houses down from his own. Now the pair carpools several times a week, taking turns behind the wheel. Andrew also added that through Zimride he had the unexpected benefit of finding a cat sitter.
Zimride not only facilitates commutes but also long-distance trips. If you’re heading home this fall or for Thanksgiving break check Zimride before you depart. The only account required is a Wake Forest email and if you have a Facebook account, you can find users within that network as well. Finding a travel companion, saving money on gas and reducing your carbon footprint has never been so easy.
By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern
Ready to sign up? Click here.
For more information click here.
Wake Forest University’s alternative transportation options have expanded over the summer with the addition of Zimride, an online ride-sharing network. Zimride works by connecting drivers who have extra seats with riders going to the same destination or somewhere else along the way. Drivers and riders connect via Zimride’s website or Facebook page, where drivers can list their destination and the number of seats available and riders can book a seat in a car headed in the right direction. Cost-sharing arrangements are made by ride-sharers up front before the departure date. Zimride is an excellent way to offset costs for all kinds of trips, but is especially useful for students traveling to and from campus for breaks, like Thanksgiving break, fall break, and winter break.
Wake Forest students can also use Zimride to connect with students at nearby universities who have similar travel paths. Zimride is an economically prudent choice for drivers, who can save 75% on travel costs by sharing a ride with three passengers, and for riders, who can save the cost of a plane, train, or bus ticket. Many Zimride users report extremely positive experiences, like meeting people who become close friends or even significant others (remember When Harry Met Sally?) by using Zimride.
Both Zimride and Zipcar, the car-sharing option on campus, are part of the collaborative consumption movement. Collaborative consumption uses online network technologies to strengthen our communities and to use goods and services more efficiently through shared access and direct exchange. By using Zimride, students can reduce the total impact of our campus community on the environment, help one another by sharing travel costs, and get to know each other better on the road back and forth to Wake Forest.
If you could reduce pollution, have a healthier planet, and shave more than $800 off the cost of your annual commute, would you? To English professor Michelle Balaev and Classics professor, Mary Pendergraft, the answer was a resounding “Yes!”
Balaev and Pendergraft became the first registered carpool in the university’s history on the Reynolda Campus last fall when they joined forces to make their 62 mile round-trip commute more enjoyable, sustainable, and affordable. In addition to the financial benefits, carpooling reduces fuel consumption, which translates into fewer greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller carbon footprint for the professors. Balaev and Pendergraft cut their combined fuel use by 400 gallons annually.
As an added bonus, any university faculty or staff member who registers a carpool receives a reserved parking space near an academic or administrative building of their choice.
Worried you’ll need a car while you’re at work? Sign-up for a Zipcar membership and you’ll always have wheels when you want them for off-campus lunch meetings, doctors appointments or anything else that comes up. Family or personal emergency? According to the carpool program guidelines, the university will pay for a cab for you to get where you need to be.
Is your commute less than sustainable? Make it your New Year’s resolution to take alternative transportation like walking, biking, or carpooling.
Looking for more ways to make 2012 your greenest year yet? Consider one (or more) of these sustainable resolutions.
Ride the Wake
Did you know that you can track the location of the Downtown, Grey, Black and Gold line shuttles in real time? The Department of Computer Science developed real-time viewing for the shuttles’ positions using GPS technology. Track the location of your ride and stay warm and productive in your office or apartment until your shuttle approaches your stop. Check it out at http://shuttle.cs.wfu.edu/ from your computer or download the free Ride the Wake app for your iPhone or iPad.
Also new to the Ride the Wake lines, a weekend shuttle loop was added to the university’s alternative transportation options. University community members can now travel to Hanes Mall and the River Birch Lodge shopping center on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Shuttles depart from the Benson Center and run on a continuous loop.
Zipcar – Wheels when you want them!
Based on continuously climbing demand, Zipcar has added a third car to the WFU campus fleet. The new silver Mazda lives in Lot N – between Kitchin and Poteat. We hope that this will be convenient for faculty and staff working on the north side of campus as well as for students living on the Quad and north campus residence halls.
Remember, you can have an account with Zipcar for your personal use and you can join a departmental account for all WFU-related travel. With a departmental account, travel is charged directly to your department – no need for travel reimbursements.
Additionally, thanks to a partnership with Ford Motor Company, the Ford Focus that is located in front of Johnson Residence Hall comes with a discount. As part of Ford’s sponsorship, the hourly rate for the Ford vehicle on campus is reduced by $1/hour. The program will cover two academic years, beginning September 1, 2011 and ending August 31, 2013.
To learn more and to sign-up for Zipcar, visit the WFU Zipcar web site: http://www.zipcar.com/wfu
By Caitlin Brooks-Edwards, Wake Forest Fellow
The transition between the spring and fall semesters of 2010 brought huge changes for the university’s department of transportation. Most notable of these is the two-fold increase in ridership on the Gold and Black shuttle lines. Ridership on those two lines topped 6,000 students last month. These lines provide convenient rides to and from WFU campus and local apartment complexes. Students have enthusiastically jumped on board as they realized the financial savings on both gas and parking passes, as well as the extended hours offered by the shuttles. This last factor had a huge impact on the increased ridership on the line.
Increased service to more apartment complexes also met the needs and wants expressed by students. GPS technology which allows riders to view the real-time locations of the shuttles has also been introduced this semester to add further convenience to the shuttle system.
The improved shuttle system is not the only successful transportation program that has been launched in the past year. Use of the Zipcar vehicles has increased steadily since its arrival on campus last spring. Since July, membership has tripled and continued growth at this rate will merit the addition of another vehicle to the fleet next spring. Other types of vehicles, such as a truck which could be utilized for moving purposes, are being considered for addition in the future.
An exciting transportation option that became available this semester is the on-campus solar shuttle. The solar shuttle, which is a solar-electric hybrid vehicle, provides students a convenient means to travel to and from different locations on the Reynolda campus. The exact route has yet to be determined, and will be designed around input from a school-wide survey. If the existing shuttles’ popularity is any indication, the future is bright for the transportation department’s newest addition to the fleet of vehicles providing convenient, free transportation to university faculty, staff and students.
By Jackie Staiger, Marketing Intern