by Derek Langhorn
Photo by Lyric Otto
For some, climate change is a significant problem facing current and future generations, and a group of Whatcom Community College students are taking measures to address the issue on a local scale.
Tristan Nims, a member of student council and the treasurer of the Sustainability Club, is leading the charge and helping to focus awareness on Whatcom’s effect on the environment.
Recently, Nims created a survey consisting of three questions in which 203 Whatcom students participated. The survey asked students about how they got to school, if they were interested in alternative transportation, and whether or not Whatcom accommodates students who seek alternative means of transportation.
Nims said he was concerned with the results. 48.4 percent of students surveyed drive their own car to school, 37.2 percent used public transportation and only 14.4 percent of students walked or biked to school.
Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed said they would be interested in finding out more information about the benefits of using alternative means of transportation or carpooling.
The students surveyed mostly agreed that Whatcom offers accommodations to students who seek out alternative forms of transportation; 83 percent of students surveyed said Whatcom adequately fulfills their needs by providing the students with easy access to bus routes and bike racks.
Nims said he hopes to work towards getting Whatcom I.D. cards to work as bus passes, to provide students with a way to use public transportation at a substantially lower cost, something that Western Washington University has already implemented.
Nims said he has heard some students voice problems about Whatcom’s accommodations, among which were complaints about lack of parking. Nims said expansion would be a good thing, but he would like more space for cars to be located off-campus, so as not to designate more space on campus to parking.
Western charges for parking, and Nims said that if Whatcom implemented this, it could be an incentive for people to start using alternative modes of transportation.
Nims’ main mode of transportation is a bicycle. “I’m a bicyclist,” he said. “Not for me, but for my grandkids. I want our world that we leave for future generations to be better.” Nims added, “[By riding a bike] I save a lot of money, I save the environment, and I am healthy.”
He hopes that the rest of the student body will get on board with helping to improve sustainability, and believes that drivers “still need to think about the environment.”
“We want a legacy, and we are in an era where we really need to make adjustments,” Nims said. His intention is to raise awareness of sustainability at Whatcom, and hopes to put a plan in motion to start fixing the problems of environmental damage.
“There are many people who cannot do their part because they are not getting their needs met,” Nims said. “We must give the students the necessary things to maintain sustainability.”
Nims believes that with a few fixes, Whatcom could become a place that is environmentally sustainable for years to come, and accommodating to people interested in alternative transportation.
He hopes that a mindset of preserving the environment will be dominant at Whatcom, and that more people will get involved in creating a more sustainable campus, as well as focusing on being environmentally aware in their own lives.
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