Brighton grad student wins Clean Commute Campus Challenge

Brooke Mayle/Staff Photographer Graduate assistant of social & behavioral science Samantha Fiani, stops for a photo with her bike, which she road during the College Clean Commute Challenge this past September, at the Fabiano Botanical Gardens, Tuesday morning.

Brighton graduate Samantha Fiani pedaled and walked her way through 25 commutes throughout a five-day challenge.

Fiani is the winner of Capital Area Transportation Authority’s 2012 “Clean Commute Campus Challenge.”

Fiani logged more clean commutes than any participant in the state-wide college competition among Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Lansing Community College, Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College.

“I live about a mile away from campus and cannot justify spending money on a parking pass and gas while living so close,” she said. “I generally try to limit how often I drive a car in order to reduce my carbon footprint.”

Fiani said has been walking or biking to class for five years and advocates non-motorized transportation in the community.

“I’ve been striving toward developing a respect between users of the road through education and awareness,” she said.

During the contest that ran Sept. 24 through Sept. 28, Fiani and other environmentally-savvy students and faculty from participating schools logged every one-way trip to campus online.

In 2010, CMU had 46 percent of all the clean commute logs in the competition. It was a record in the competition and doubled the previous year’s total of all competing schools combined.

MSU won the overall commuting logs, although the top student at the university logged 10 miles for the week, 15 miles less than Fiani this year.

“It is extremely encouraging to witness the enthusiasm for sustainable initiatives exhibited by students on our state’s college campuses,” said Sandy Draggoo, CEO/executive director of the Capital Area Transportation Authority. “They showed how much they care about making the communities we share better places by promoting healthy lifestyles and improving our environment through clean commuting options.”

Fiani graduated from CMU in December 2010 with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in recreation administration with a concentration in outdoor and environmental recreation. She was also a member of the Student Environmental Alliance. She is pursuing a masters in recreation administration and is a graduate research assistant in CMU’s Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems. She is a member of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee, where she contributes to instilling sustainability in the academic culture.

The Clean Commute Campus Challenge is organized by the Clean Commute Options Program, coordinated by CATA. The program focuses on improving air quality and promotes green means of transportation.


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