Making Rural Transportation Work: Itawamba Earns 5th Star From TIOS

Itawamba Community College has earned a star in transportation management, its fifth, from the Institute of Sustainability Green Business certification program during a recent assessment of environmental policies and practices.

In addition, ICC previously earned stars in the general category, energy efficiency, water efficiency and urban run-off and pollution prevention and chemical use, bringing it closer to TIOS’s first six-star certified college, according to David Long, TIOS regional director.

Among the criteria for the transportation management star, which ICC has met, are providing a secure location for storing bicycles as well as a tire air pump and flat tire repair kit for on-site use; maintaining the vehicle fleet to optimize miles per gallon including adjusting tire pressure, filter, oil, etc.; the use of alternative transportation for business errands and covering ride share programs at new employee/student orientation sessions.

ICC also offers alternative transportation options for its students and faculty by providing free shuttle service between the Fulton and Tupelo campuses and a ride share program which matches students for possible carpooling to all locations including the Belden Center.

Approximately 25 students take advantage of the shuttle service, which is in its third year, every weekday. Lavender Henry of Tupelo said that she rides the shuttle to the Fulton campus “because I don’t have a vehicle,” but Karen Scott of Blue Springs “saves on gas expenses.” The shuttle – whether it be a bus or van – begins its 34-mile round trip route each morning at 7:15 a.m. and again at 3 p.m. at the Fulton Campus.

“Itawamba Community College’s shuttle service between the Fulton and Tupelo campus locations along with the student ride share program are two very impressive sustainability initiatives,” said Doug Moore, CEO of The Institute of Sustainability. “These programs save students money in gas, and with the round trip shuttle service being some 34 miles, it has a positive effect on the College’s carbon footprint. These two very good measures are another example of the progressive leadership Itawamba Community College takes in helping its students and being good environmental stewards.”

Faculty and staff members are also encouraged to share rides when attending off-campus meetings; take advantage of campus food services or bring their lunches; shop in the College bookstore; utilize the services of the ICC post office and learning resource center and reduce the number of face-to-face meetings through the use of email, Blackboard instant messaging and phone calls.

“We strive to be good stewards of public trust and utilize tax money to sustain the environment and efficiently operate the institution,” said ICC President David Cole.

ICC, which is the first two-year institution in the state to partner in the green certification, will continue to work with TIOS consultants to attain six-star status.

Additional ways that ICC is currently promoting environmental awareness and preservation are recycling, composting of leftover food and using paper in its culinary arts program, utilizing irrigation for its athletic fields, using eco-friendly cleaning chemicals, sponsoring workshops and programs and utilizing a hybrid vehicle for training in its automotive technology program.

by Donna Thomas, Itawamba Community College




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