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Graphic by Maddy VanOrman Photo credit: Maddy Van Orman

The first of July officially marked the beginning of the second annual Clear the Air Challenge.

Weber State University’s sustainability office is challenging the university to go green this month in order to help lower emissions and to shrink the carbon footprint.

Beverly Brewer, WSU Student Sustainability Office Coordinator, is leading this project and is working alongside the student and faculty wellness centers.

Brewer explained that the purpose of the challenge is not only to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted but to make it interesting by turning it into a competition.

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in participating are urged to check out the website for more details and to sign up following the instructions listed on the page.

Once signed up, participants are able to log their progress, participate in weekly raffles offered through the sustainability office and see how much they have lowered their carbon emissions.

The university is being divided into five divisions, which include Academic Affairs, Administrative Services, Student Affairs, University Advancement, Information Technology and students.

The event will run for a month, and in addition to the division competitions at WSU, there are other organizations and educational institutions competing, such as the University of Utah, Utah Department of Workforce Services and Utah Department of Environmental Quality. It is essentially a state-wide competition, but Brewer noted that this is bigger than a competition.

Although these departments and other state-wide institutions are all pitted against each other, Brewer said all of the progress from each individual location will be combined in order to see how much progress the state has made.

Brewer mentioned that while it may not seem like July is the most likely month to complete this challenge because harsher air is more visible during the winter months, it turns out that the summer months are of equal concern, due to the still or stagnant air, ground-level ozone tends to form and is harmful to human health.

“July is a great time to take on this challenge because we are experiencing the 100 most deadly days of summer, which is when we experience some of the most car crash fatalities,” Brewer said.

By lowering car transportation, it is possible to lower those statistics.

In the past, WSU has not had an exceptional amount of participation, but Brewer is hoping to change that this time around.

“We don’t have a lot of participation going on, partly because students are unaware, and due to the summer, there are significantly fewer students on campus, so this year, we’re trying to up those numbers,” Brewer said.

Since this is a competition, prizes are involved. WSU will be awarding its winners with prizes such as Visa gift cards, bookstore gear and plaques.

The Weber-Morgan County Health Department is also getting involved by giving away bikes, fit bits, hiking shoes and gift cards.

According to the Clear the Air website, they will be giving away bikes, hiking shoes and Jazz tickets as well to those who track the most progress in order to provide an incentive to get people involved.

Students are welcome to follow up for more information by contacting Brewer through her email, the WSU website or on their Facebook page at Weber State University Sustainability.

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