Fair helps spread the word about One Less Car Challenge

Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 10:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 10:06 p.m.

Segways, Zipcars, discounts and bicycle helmets all have at least one thing in common.

They were all present at the Alternative Transportation Fair on the University of Florida campus on Wednesday.

The fair, which took place on the lawn outside of the Reitz Union, is held by the Office of Sustainability at the beginning of fall term, and is the launching event for the One Less Car Challenge that runs from until Nov. 19.

"We're always hoping more people will want to get involved and commit to commute by using alternative transportation as much as possible throughout the semester, and especially on One Less Car Day," said Ashley Pennington, outreach coordinator at the Office of Sustainability.

She said the fair is helpful to make sure people know about the One Less Car Challenge, a campaign aimed at replacing the use of single-occupancy vehicles with more environmentally friendly options.

"The fair reached a lot of people today," she said.

Pennington said she saw many people who were excited about the different transportation options being presented to them.

She was unable to estimate how many students came to the event, but said that from 10 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m., there was heavy traffic at the fair.

There consistently were a few people gathered around the Sustainable UF booth, where they could learn about the One Less Car Challenge, Pennington added.

One Less Car Day -- set for Oct. 6 -- will take place at about the middle of the challenge, Pennington said. Participants in the challenge are encouraged to choose alternative forms of transportation on this day especially, to show their commitment to the cause.

The challenge will continue through the fall by having participants compete in several mini challenges, for which the participants will have opportunities to win prizes.

Students can find updates on these mini challenges posted on One Less Car's Facebook page.

Those who would like to join the challenge and participate throughout the semester can do so by logging onto and creating an account online at the UF GreenRide website.

The UF GreenRide website matches its members with others who have similar schedules to enable carpooling.

"A lot of people think they've got it all covered with walking, busing and biking," said Andrea Grossman, intern at the Office of Sustainability. "But we wanted to let them know about their additional options in Gainesville."

An addition to this year's fair was the Bicycle Benefits program, which encourages people to ditch their cars for bicycles and receive discounts at participating businesses.

Attendees who signed up with the UF Police Department received a free Bicycle Benefits sticker that entitles them to these discounts.

Dianna Ferguson, a University of Florida student, was among those attending the transportation fair. She said she likes to alternate between using the bus system and walking to her classes.

"I do believe in using alternative transportation," Ferguson said. "Even if I could afford a car, I don't know if I'd buy one."

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