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Alternative Commuters Help UNH Win Seacoast Commuter Challenge Trophy

By Beth Potier, Media Relations
May 25, 2011

Breakfast coordinator Brent Bell greets President Mark W. Huddleston, who stopped by the commuter breakfast on his way to a busy day of pre-commencement activities.

A week of drenching rain didn’t deter UNH faculty, staff and students and Durham community members from bicycling, walking, carpooling or taking public transit to work on Friday (May 20, 2011), national Bike/Walk to Work Day.  At a free commuter breakfast sponsored by the department of kinesiology, nearly 50 commuters enjoyed free bagels, coffee and camaraderie.

Dedication by UNH commuters helped the university snag the “Major Institution” trophy for the fifth annual Seacoast Commuter Challenge. Among the wildcats who committed to a greener commute are recreation management and policy instructor Sean McLaughlin, who calls himself a “dedicated car-free commuter;” he logged 87 soggy miles on his bike last week. Gina Desmarais of the computer science department biked nearly 30 miles round trip from her home in Nottingham, and associate professor of biology Jessica Bolker and dining services’ Rochelle L’Italien each notched an 18 mile ride. Even non-bicyclists got into the spirit: Pamela Wildes of the COLSA dean’s office rides her motorcycle more than 70 miles round trip, using just one gallon of gas per day, and Eric Benevides (office of international students and scholars) and Scott Jarvis (telecom) carpool from Laconia five days per week.

Campus energy manager Matt O’Keefe, who usually wears a helmet, biked his son Ryan to the Child Study and Development Center.

“It was a better turnout than we anticipated, given the weather. Many folks were on their bikes for the first time this season,” said breakfast coordinator Brent Bell, assistant professor of kinesiology. “Now that they had a taste of the bike commuting habit, I would hope that summer weather and high gas prices will motivate folks to continue.”

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