APU to implement VeoRide bikes, electric vehicle charging stations in effort to decrease environmental pollution

Azusa Pacific is taking steps this semester to reduce the amount of transportation-induced pollution in the community. On Wednesday, Feb. 6, VeoRide, a bike sharing program, will deliver 75 bicycles to both East and West campuses.

APU is also in the process of negotiating a sponsorship with Electrify America to build at least six more charging stations for electric vehicles on West campus.

According to a 2016 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), human activities are responsible for almost all of the increases in greenhouse gases, which trap heat and make the planet warmer, in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.

The majority of greenhouse gas emission comes from burning fossil fuels for energy, with transportation making up 28 percent of the total and electricity accounting for another 28 percent.

Toney Snyder, assistant director of Environmental Stewardship, said the bikes will give students who live in the residential apartments around campus a way to get around campus quickly without using cars. Snyder hopes the charging stations will encourage increased use of electric vehicles. Bikes will be located on campus as well as in the apartments around campus.

Snyder explained that students can download the VeoRide smartphone application and their first four rides will be free. A ride lasts up to 30 minutes. After that, students will be charged about 50 cents per 15-minute ride. There are also subscriptions for $6.99 a day or $13.99 a month, which includes unlimited rides.

The bikes are available for students, faculty and staff. You can download the app as long as you have an apu.edu email account. This service is not open to people outside of the APU community.

Snyder said when you download the app, there is a map where you can see where available bikes are located on campus. When you find the bike, you must open the app and scan the small square barcode on the bike with the app to unlock the back wheel.

APU also asks that students leave the bikes in a bike rack when they are done using them so the walkways don’t become blocked.

Booths will be set up after chapel on Wednesday on both East and West campuses. Environmental Stewardship will hand out flyers encouraging people to join the program.

Snyder also said that APU is in the process of negotiation funding with Electrify America for electric vehicles on West Campus.

“We have a signed contract with EV Connect, a company that installs electric vehicle charging parking stations,” Snyder said. “The parking committee has authorized us to use Lot I, which is over by the soccer field on West campus. Over there, we are going to install 6-8 parking spots for electric vehicles to charge, but we are still waiting on approval for the funding.”

Snyder said he knows of 20 people on campus who drive electric vehicles that have recommended building electric vehicle parking spots on campus.

“We currently have only two spots for a slow-charge on West campus, but this is a big step to move forward. These spots would be fast-charging, with 240 bolts,” Snyder said.” Fast-charging takes about 3-5 hours depending on the car and the condition of the battery. We’re still waiting for the funding to actually hit, but we’re hoping that it gets implemented before the end of this school year.”

In addition to these programs at APU, Snyder will also teach a class for APU community members to learn about environmental conservation habits called “Living Lightly in a Land of Luxury.” The lecture is open to students, faculty and staff on Friday, Feb. 8 in Wilden Lecture Hall from 1-3:30 p.m.

During the workshop, Snyder will give tips about what people can do at work and at home to save money and leave a smaller carbon footprint.

“We ask questions like, ‘How do I reduce my trash? How do I consume less electricity and water?’ All those questions will be answered in practical ways in that class,” he said.

Snyder said some of the biggest environmental concerns on a college campus have to do with residential shower and water usage.

“Most students aren’t aware that they are showering with what is considered precious water in other parts of the world. You can drink this water. It’s pure, it’s clean,” Snyder said. “Yet some students take an excessive amount of time showering. Shower only as long as you need to. That’s an easy step in the right direction.”

He said that the same is true of electricity.

“Students in the dorms and Shire mods don’t pay for electricity, yet we’ve seen appliances left on with windows open, which is a huge waste of energy. The more we can reduce the consumption of our resources, the easier it is on our planet,” Snyder said. “We as Americans consume way too much energy and produce way too much trash. It is embarrassing how much we abuse our resources simply because we can afford to do it. It’s not right as Christians to take advantage just because we can. We need to be a little more concerned about what we use. Everybody can make a difference in those two everyday areas.”

Victoria Slosted, a junior liberal studies major, said she is glad the university is making efforts to be good stewards of God’s creation.

“I think that it is great how APU is being more considerate to our environment and making an effort to make it a priority,” Slosted said. “We should learn to be better stewards of the creation that God has made, and making these changes is a great reminder to do so.”

Jordan Mar, a junior biology major, echoed Slosted’s sentiment.

“I am encouraged by the way APU is taking steps toward trying to make the campus more eco-friendly,” Mar said. “These new services will help aid our efforts in reducing the pollution we put into the air and ultimately help the world around us.”