Students at Utah Valley University (UVU) will unveil their Give the Gift of Clean Air campaign, which includes a pledge to ride public transportation, at a press conference on November 30 at 10 a.m. at the Orem Central Station, located at 1350 West 900 South in Orem, Utah.
The students will address Utah’s poor air quality and climate change and will share why it is important to make the sustainable decision to ride public transportation. Attendees will be invited to join UVU students in taking the pledge to ride and “Give the Gift of Clean Air.”
“I grew up in Salt Lake City and was regularly hospitalized during the winter months,” said Caitlyn Bennett, UVU student and one of the co-creators of the Give the Gift of Clean Air campaign. “One week, I was in the ER every day, and the staff knew my name. Air quality has a direct impact on my health and life. When you try to keep our air clean, you are giving the gift of a healthier life to people like me.”
The student-led press conference will feature Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and UVU leadership, and Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer. A fog machine simulation will help those in attendance visualize the impact of Utah’s inversions on local air quality.
In addition, students will launch a social media campaign to encourage UVU students, faculty, staff, and their dependents to use their university identification cards to ride UTA FrontRunner, TRAX, and buses for free. UTA and UVU started the free-access program in 2018 to reduce traffic and parking problems, keep the air clean, and help UVU reach its sustainability goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.
“If we each continue to say that our actions won’t make a difference, then nothing will change,” said Kiersten Thomson, a UVU student and co-creator of the Give the Gift of Clean Air campaign. “If we each choose to start with small actionable steps, our collective choices can make a big impact, leading to a healthier climate in Utah.”