Fairfield University's acquiring of a hybrid electric bus and car/bike sharing programs part of a major University initiative to reduce its carbon footprint


Hybrid BusA new hybrid electric bus is now operating on the Fairfield University campus, shuttling students to downtown Fairfield and other locations. In addition, the University has implemented car and bike-sharing programs for students. All developments are part of a major University initiative to reduce Fairfield's carbon footprint and reflects its ongoing commitment to sustainable practices.

The hybrid electric bus replaced a diesel-fueled shuttle bus. The move to a hybrid vehicle is helping the University to reduce harmful emissions and fuel consumption. "It addresses our campus carbon footprint and enhances our priority of doing all possible to making a green campus," said James Fitzpatrick, assistant vice president of student affairs. Fitzpatrick is a member of the University's campus sustainability committee, which was formed by President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. as part of an initiative to reduce the University's greenhouse gas emissions.

A car-sharing program called 'Connect by Hertz' started on campus in September, which currently provides four cars for student use - including one hybrid vehicle, although all are considered fuel-efficient. The cars are pretty well utilized, particularly on weekends. A bike-sharing program has been implemented with Trek Bicycle Store of Fairfield, providing five bikes for free student use.

David Frassinelli, vice president and director of facilities management, is chair of the sustainability committee, which oversaw an audit of the Fairfield campus's carbon footprint. "Fairfield University is committed to environmentally responsible solutions and to seeking clean energy alternatives. It is part of a very comprehensive effort at work to support the Catholic Jesuit mission of caring for the environment, both locally and globally."

The car and bike programs are a helpful complement to the shuttle; an increased number of students are utilizing the bus and the number of student cars on campus has been reduced. According to its maker, Michigan-based Azure Dynamics, Fairfield's CitiBus model can lead to a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional buses, and it has the ability to achieve up to a 40 percent improvement in fuel economy. The hybrid needs less maintenance than a regular bus, which can result in a 30 percent reduction in maintenance costs.

The bus, a CitiBus, is a clean, fuel-efficient alternative to conventional shuttle buses, Fitzpatrick said. It also shuttles students on Saturdays to the Black Rock shopping district and the Westfield Mall in Trumbull. It is operated out of J&R Tours in Westchester County.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 2, 2010

Vol. 42, No. 216