University Sustainability

Defining Sustainability since 1899

GreenTravel

App State’s transportation-related activities are the third-largest contributor to the school’s greenhouse gas emissions and encompasses the following university activities:

  • Fleet Vehicles
  • Faculty and Staff Commuting
  • Student Commuting
  • University Funded Air Travel
  • University Funded Ground Travel
  • Study Abroad
  • Purchased Travel Offset

Download this information as a PDF here.

The App State motor pool has four all-electric Chevrolet Bolts and an electric-hybrid Chevrolet Volt. Charging stations for campus use are located at the Legends Lot and the Rivers Street Parking Deck.

Carbon Neutral Commuter & Voluntary Offsetting

Since 2014, Appalachian State University students, faculty, and staff have had the option of participating in the voluntary Carbon Neutral Commuter (CNC) program. Internal research shows the average commuter at Appalachian drives 4,300 miles per year — releasing roughly 1.9 metric tons of greenhouse gases. 

While the CNC program does not prevent these commuting related emissions from occurring, it does fund the destruction of an equal portion of greenhouse gases elsewhere. Look for the Carbon Neutral Commuter option when you sign up for your yearly parking pass, add it any time at Parking & Traffic’s site or inquire at the University Bookstore. For $8 you’ll receive a year-specific CNC bumper sticker and the knowledge that you are taking an active part in one part of the solution to climate change.

Similar voluntary opportunities are being developed for OIED’s study abroad program and other university-related air and ground travel activities.

APPALCART

AppalCART is the transportation authority that provides public transportation for all of Boone and Watauga County, including Appalachian State University. Student parking on the main campus is very limited, so students are strongly encouraged to ride AppalCART whenever possible.

Because the service is subsidized by the University, students may ride free of charge. Bus shelters are located at all perimeter parking areas, as well as many other campus locations. For additional information about AppalCART’s services, call (828) 264-2278, or visit the AppalCART web site.

Cycling & BIKEAPP

Bike App supports the Appalachian State community through education and advocacy for a more sustainable, bike-friendly campus and town.

Charging stations, such as this one in Legends Parking Lot, provide infrastructure for an ever-expanding fleet of electric vehicles on campus. Currently, there are five EV charging stations on campus, four of which are solar powered (grid tied).

Bike App is located on Rivers St across from Katherine Harper Hall. No need to sign up in advance, just drop by the trailer during our hours for free bicycle tunings, repairs, and other educational opportunities.

Interested in getting involved? Contact Valerie Kankiewicz at breyve@appstate.edu or at (828) 262-4077.

Walking

App State’s campus is easily walkable, just be sure to take extra care on days the walkways and rails may be icy. Downtown Boone and campus are surrounded by “the loop,” which goes around campus by way of Rivers St., Blowing Rock Road, and King Street.

Most major roads in Boone have sidewalks, though they may not be easily accessible for those with mobility issues or in wheelchairs. 

The Boone Greenway is a fully accessible trail that is either paved or gravel surfaced and mostly flat. It follows and crosses the South Fork of the New River through meadows and forests.  Access to the Greenway can be found in many locations throughout town, starting between Pride Drive & Southgate Drive (behind Coyote Kitchen), and a recent expansion has connected the former “end” of the Greenway at Casey Lane to the Brookshire Park and Soccer Complex off Hwy 421.

Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure

App State is working to increase EV charging opportunities on campus, and there are currently five charging stations available for any student, staff, or faculty member with a valid parking pass. There is a 4-port solar charging station located in the Legends Parking lot, and a standalone station on the first floor of the Rivers Street Parking Deck. These are all first-come, first-charged. Plugshare keeps an online list of EV chargers in Boone, kept updated by EV drivers.

If you need to rent a vehicle for campus-related travel, consider checking out one of the EVs from Motor Pool.

Eco-conscious travel tips

1. TAKE YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE AND FOOD CONTAINER

One tends to need to have access to water on the go. In many places, tap water is perfectly safe to drink- check with locals. Also consider taking your own container for food. Some places don’t have infrastructure for plastics recycling, and tourism is a major trash generator for local communities.

2. SUPPORT THE LOCAL ECONOMY & CULTURE

Of the millions of dollars spent on tourism, only a fraction help the local economy. To help benefit the local communities:

  • Eat and shop locally
  • Stay in local preferably eco friendly accommodation
  • Travel with local transport providers (where safe)

3. SUPPORT ECO-FRIENDLY, LOCAL TOUR COMPANIES

Look for a reputable eco-friendly / local tour company for excursions.  

4. HOTEL TIPS

If you stay in a hotel, there are ways to reduce your impact:

  • Hang up your towels – it’s the universal sign that they don’t need to be washed
  • Leave the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the hotel door to reduce unnecessary washing of linen, vacuuming and the use of other chemicals for cleaning
  • Take your own toiletries (and toothbrush) to reduce the single use hotel bottles
  • Don’t use the free plastic water bottles (unless of course, you can’t drink water from the tap safely)

Located across Rivers St. from Katherine Harper Hall and just before the skywalk, Bike App offers free bike tuneups and repairs. The trailer is powered by solar panels, and the schedule is posted on a decommissioned PV panel.

5. TRANSPORTATION

Compared with any other mode of transportation, flying produces the most carbon per mile. So, when possible, opt the bus or train – this can also be a great way to do some sightseeing en route. 

If you do have to fly and it’s a long haul, go for a non-stop flight. Not only is it a time saver but a direct flight will always be more fuel efficient. Driving (especially carpooling) will always beat flying from a carbon footprint perspective. 

6. CARBON OFFSET PROGRAMS

If you do need to fly, another means of reducing your flying footprint is to take advantage of a carbon offset program. These programs give passengers the option to invest in carbon reduction projects to help neutralize or reduce their carbon footprint caused by travel.

There are over 30 International Air Transport Association (IATA) member airlines who have introduced a travel offset program.

7. RENEWABLE BIOFUELS

Look for airlines that use renewable biofuels. Biofuels are produced using renewable feedstock such as plant oils, agricultural waste and wood chips. Using renewable biofuel as opposed to fossil fuels can reduce carbon emissions by up to 80%. Delta and United currently use a % of biofuel on domestic flights.

8. SUSTAINABILITY CERTIFICATIONS

If you want to stay in an environmentally and socially responsible establishment, look for certified accommodation providers. Ask for their green certification and check whether that certifier has been approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The GSTC and others provide a set of minimum requirements that a tourism business must meet for approval.