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Saint Mary’s launches partnership with Zipcar

| Thursday, October 9, 2014

On Tuesday, Saint Mary’s College launched a partnership with Zipcar to offer a car-sharing network on campus.

The convenient transportation option is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for students, faculty and staff ages 18 and older. Students are expected to be the most frequent users, according to a press release sent to Saint Mary’s.

“Once enrolled as Zipcar members, the Saint Mary’s community may also reserve Zipcars at the University of Notre Dame and, in turn, their community can use Saint Mary’s Zipcars,” director of media relations Gwen O’Brien said.

Saint Mary’s will initially offer two Ford Focus models for communal use. The Zipcars have designated parking spots located in the Regina Hall parking lot for convenient pick-up and return. The cars are available on-demand and can be easily reserved by the hour or by the day, O’Brien said.

Faculty and students can join Zipcar for $25, with rates for Zipcar vehicles on campus starting as low as $7.50 per hour and $69 per day, she said. After the first year, members will pay an annual membership fee of $35. Gas, insurance, and up to 180 miles of driving per day are included in Zipcar rates, and cars can be reserved for as little as an hour or for multiple days, O’Brien said.

One of the unique features of this new accommodation is its members can download the Zipcar mobile application on their smartphone to make reservations, lock and unlock the vehicles and honk the horn to help locate the vehicle, she said. Reservations can also be made over the phone or on Zipcar’s website.

O’Brien said Zipcars will benefit a variety of people in the community, especially students by offering the freedom of having a car without the commitment and cost of bringing one to campus.

“This could open up the possibility for some students to apply for off-campus internships or jobs that they might not have considered because they didn’t have a way to get there,” she said.

“We have a lot of students in majors like nursing, education and social work who serve in the community as part of their coursework. Many students also volunteer at schools and non-profits around town. Zipcars offer a possible way to get to those locations,” O’Brien said.

She said another great benefit of bringing Zipcars to Saint Mary’s is that they are environmentally friendly.

“Reducing the College’s carbon footprint is something the administration is very cognizant of and they’re excited to bring Zipcars to Saint Mary’s [for that reason],” she said “Offering Zipcars potentially reduces the number of student cars on campus while offering students the convenience and freedom of a car when they need it.”

According to Zipcar’s website, “Zipcar reduces congestion and parking demand. Studies have shown each Zipcar takes approximately 15 personally owned cars off the road. Zipcar reduces emissions. Studies have shown Zipcar members reduce their overall mileage by about 40 percent after joining, helping to reduce CO2 emissions.”

Vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson said these statistics play into Saint Mary’s strategic plan, titled Boldly Forward, which aims to reduce the College’s carbon footprint and raise awareness of the importance of sustainability on campus.

“Offering Zipcars here is an example of an effort to reduce the number of student cars on campus while offering students the convenience and freedom of a car when they need it,” Johnson said.

Nursing major and sophomore Kathryn Gessert said she is excited about Zipcar coming to Saint Mary’s.

“I don’t go off-campus nearly enough to invest in my own car, and while riding the buses and my bike around the area are extremely low-cost, they require massive amounts of travel time,” Gessert said. “As a nursing student, I anticipate commuting to off-campus healthcare locations on a regular basis.

“Zipcar is the perfect solution,” she said.

For more information about Zipcars and to become a Zipcar member visit, www.zipcar.com/saintmarys.

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