Kindness Commute campaign initiates sustainable travel and pantry giving

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Transportation Demand Management is partnering with the Crimson Cupboard Food Pantry during the Thanksgiving season in a new initiative called the Kindness Commute Campaign.

Students, faculty and staff can log their kilometers of sustainable transportation, such as walking or cycling or scootering, and TDM will donate $ 1 for every kilometer, up to $ 1,000, to the Crimson Cupboard. The initiative started on November 1 and will run until November 20.

Anna Dragovich, Transportation Demand Management Coordinator and Bike Manager, said the campaign was a great way to achieve both her department’s goals and those of Crimson Cupboard. The partnership will encourage students, faculty and staff to use sustainable modes of transportation while benefiting food insecure students, she said.

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Sustainable travel options are walking, biking, taking the bus, carpooling, using a motorcycle, moped or scooter, or skateboarding, Dragovich said.

Brandon Shurr, director of Crimson Cupboard, said he looks forward to the realization that this partnership will bring, in terms of both sustainable modes of transportation and pantry. He said he hopes this will introduce more people to the major problem of food insecurity in IU.

“It raises awareness for people who may not be aware of the Crimson Cupboard Food Pantry, and perhaps also the issue of food insecurity on the UI campus,” said Shurr.

He said that after the campaign he hopes to see more people using the pantry, either to use it for his resources or to volunteer to help if they are able. By learning about the pantry, he said, the IU community may realize that they need their services or are able to provide time or donations for it.

“Hopefully this will reach out to a new group of people who may not have had the chance to learn more about the pantry,” said Shurr.

David Smiley, a senior lecturer in the Department of Health and Wellness Design at the School of Public Health, said sustainable transportation is an important practice for reducing climate change.

“We are all in a battle to prevent the temperature rise on Earth by doing everything we can to slow or possibly stop climate change,” Smiley said. “And obviously travel and tourism have a big impact.”

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He said the city of Bloomington had done a great job of promoting more sustainable travel by making it easier to travel by bike or electric cars, adding more bike lanes and electric charging stations in car parking lots. Students, he said, contribute a large majority of the city’s transportation.

“If we can get more of this population to walk, cycle and use other transportation, it will help the city as a whole,” Smiley said.

Smiley said the partnership between TDM and Crimson Cupboard is a great way to help initiate change within the city. He is eager to see the results, he said.

“I love that transportation demand management contributes to the Crimson Cupboard,” Smiley said. “I think this is another perfect example of how you can also try to encourage this action more.”

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