Union gets a charge out of its first electric vehicle stations
The College has installed two electric vehicle charging stations as part of its continuing efforts to become a more sustainable campus.
Students, faculty and staff are now able to power up at the stations located in the Facilities parking lot, just left of the Olin Center. The chargers can service up to four vehicles at a time.
They work for both electric-only vehicles and plug-in hybrids, which switch to a gasoline engine when their batteries run low.
“We believe that by making the technology a reality in our campus we can help educate the community about its possibilities and its positive environmental impact,” said Daniel Mosquera, associate professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies.
Mosquera jump-started the idea for the stations. He and his wife, Megan Ferry, chair and associate professor of Chinese and Asian Studies, are among a handful of EV owners on campus. The couple drives an all-electric Nissan Leaf and has plans to trade their Subaru Impreza for a plug-in Prius.
The EV owners thought putting charging stations on campus would encourage others to explore the technology. Mosquera, with the help of Jeff Corbin, associate professor of biology (who drives a plug-in Prius) and Meghan Haley-Quigley, '11, manager of Sustainability and Green Initiatives, worked on a proposal for a Planning and Priorities grant. The grants are awarded each year for projects that support the College’s Strategic Plan. Hugh Jenkins, professor of English (Chevrolet Volt) was the co-sponsor.
The grant paid for the stations and will cover electricity use during the first year.
The stations have already generated interest from students and parents intrigued by electric cars, Mosquera said. Users must register to access the stations. Contact Mosquera at firstname.lastname@example.org Plans are in the works to allow visitors temporary access.
One issue still being ironed out: Non EV users have been parking in the spots, often blocking access to the stations. Mosquera is working with Campus Safety to address the problem.
Sustainability is one of the key priorities of the College’s Strategic Plan. In 2007, President Stephen C. Ainlay was among the first to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), pledging to formally work on reducing, and eventually eliminating, campus greenhouse gas emissions.
“Providing electric vehicle charging stations for our students, faculty and staff is an important opportunity to show that our commitment to sustainability extends beyond the campus gates,” Haley-Quigley said.