In a recent post, Oronte Churm comments on Hinterland University’s reluctance to cancel classes due to weather. My own campus gets serious winter, and I’ve long noted that senior administration seems to assume that all faculty, staff and students live within walking (slogging?) distance of campus — we hardly ever close.
From a sustainability perspective, however, that might be a good thing. The folks with the longest drives — the greatest vulnerability to bad weather — are precisely the folks whose commuting behavior creates the most emissions. Rather than enabling long commutes, maybe schools should look into enabling/facilitating people’s decisions to locate near campus.
Commuting behavior contributes something like 20% of emissions at an average university; encouraging people to reside where walking, biking or taking public transit to campus is a viable option can only cut down that number.