Drive less, win money

Francia Benson

The Clear the Air Challenge is a month long challenge held every February, which has been taken up by Weber State University to help motivate its students.

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The Clear the Air Challenge was designed to lower Utah air pollution and lasts all of February. (Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash)

This year’s challenge is aiming to eliminate 100,000 single occupant trips to save 2 million miles of driving as a way to help eliminate emissions and reduce pollution.

Poor air quality causes major health issues for Utah residents. Due to the inversion, Utah ranks among the highest in air pollution in the country and worldwide. The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce created this challenge as one way to address it.

Since the challenge began in 2009, over 1 million trips have been eliminated and over 5,000 tons of emissions reduced.

In 2019, WSU students, faculty and staff joined forces by forming six teams to compete in the challenge. The WSU Team saved over 12 tons of CO2.

Analeah Vaughn, food security and sustainability coordinator, said Ogden and surrounding areas will benefit from the challenge by decreasing the amount of travel-related pollution and harmful fine particle emissions.

This year, WSU is competing against the University of Utah. To incentivize students, WSU is giving prizes of $25 each Friday to the winners of those who have logged trips. There will also be grand prizes for the top three performers of the month for $50, $40 and $25.

Some of the ways you can participate in saving trips is by riding a bike or public transportation, trip chain, walking or carpooling.

Liam Wood, an environmental sciences student, said he will participate because he is aware that air pollution is causing illnesses such as asthma and lung cancer.

“The challenge benefits the Ogden area as it will allow our employees and students to enjoy both the beauty and the recreation that this area provides with less health risk,” Raeanna Johnson, employee wellness coordinator, said.

To participate in the challenge and to win prizes, register at TravelWise Tracker using your Weber State email. Choose team Weber State University and then as your sub-group select Weber State Students. On Feb. 1, start logging your trips to know how many emissions you are saving.