Middlebury Vt. - Beginning in the 2009-2010 academic year Middlebury College will charge students $50 per semester ($100/year, $25 summer) to park cars on campus. Previously, the college allowed students to register cars without a fee. Middlebury will use funds from this new fee to support its carbon neutrality initiative by distributing revenue between carbon reduction efforts and public transportation, in addition to paying for maintenance of parking lots.
"This is a unique use of parking fees," says Nan Jenks-Jay, Dean of Environmental Affairs. "Most other colleges don't specify using parking fees to reduce the impacts cars have on campus or on the climate."
Middlebury College adopted an ambitious climate change policy in 2007 when the Board of Trustees approved a resolution for carbon neutrality by 2016. This resolution specifies achieving carbon neutrality by changing college operations to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. After all such changes have been made the college will address its remaining emissions through offsets. By using funds from student parking fees, Middlebury will have a continual stream of revenue that can help support carbon-reduction projects, such as local renewable energy.
While Middlebury is not constrained for space like urban college campuses, parking is still a problem, especially in prime locations that are closer to the center of campus where pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles cross paths. The college recently adopted a new campus master plan, which includes plans for the campus to become more pedestrian-friendly. One way to achieve this is through reducing the number of cars on campus and increasing alternative forms of transportation. Middlebury currently hosts two Zipcars on campus, which are very popular with students, and the College hopes that expanding this program and the campus shuttle service will lead to more students leaving their cars at home.
Using a portion of parking fees to support carbon reduction is only the most recent step Middlebury has taken toward its goal of carbon neutrality. In February, Middlebury celebrated the launch of its biomass gasification plant, which uses woodchips to heat and cool campus. This local, renewable fuel source and gasification process will reduce the College's carbon footprint by 40%.
For more information, contact Middlebury College's Office of Sustainability Integration at 802-443-5043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.