Montemorelos University says initiative means avoiding the pollution of 1,650 cars.
In an effort to combat pollution caused by the hundreds of vehicles entering and leaving the campus every day, a group of students at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Montemorelos University has come up with a car-free zone initiative that includes closing its gates for one day once a month.
Students, faculty, and staff of the school campus in Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico, can enter or leave campus on foot or on a bicycle anywhere they need to go on the last Tuesday of the month.
“Through this initiative, we want people to create a habit of using other, more efficient ways of transportation like bicycles, carpooling, or public transportation that facilitate mobility on campus,” said Ruthlyne Baro, who teaches in the School of Architecture. It’s also an opportunity for social integration, she said. “We want society to embrace and use these means of transportation that are more sustainable.”
Students and faculty from the School of Architecture came up with the idea of implementing a car-free zone activity once a year on campus three years ago, said Baro. But they decided that for the 2018-2019 school year, starting on August 28, it was time to implement it once a month.
On an average weekday, the campus sees approximately 1,650 vehicles entering its main gate, so coordinating the initiative has taken plenty of planning, university officials said. Some students and faculty have volunteered to remind the student body and the community through general assemblies, email, and other announcements of the upcoming car-free day.
“This car-free day is generating a lot of controversies because we are working with a change of paradigms, a change of habits, and all habit changes are difficult,” Baro added. “Some people like it, others not so much.”