In conjunction with National Drive Electric Week, Niagara University unveiled four new electric car charging stations on its campus.
Two of the charging stations are located in the parking lot between the Castellani Art Museum and B. Thomas Golisano Center for Integrated Sciences, and two are stationed in the parking lot adjacent to O'Shea and Timon halls.
During a brief event Thursday, the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, thanked members of NU's sustainability committee for their efforts in leading this charge, which he noted is consistent with the institution's 2012 signing of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment.
Father Maher also pointed out that creating a sustainable campus environment enhances the student experience and follows the teachings of Pope Francis, a thought that was echoed by Dr. Mark Gallo, professor of biology and co-chair of NU's sustainability committee.
"We're seeing environmental concerns emerge all over the world, and these movements always start at the local level," Father Maher said. "As a Catholic and Vincentian university, we want to empower our community to bring about necessary change. That blueprint can begin here at Niagara, and extend globally."
"In keeping with the words of Pope Francis, it is our moral imperative to save the environment and, in doing so, save humanity," Dr. Gallo added. "Niagara University prides itself by acting in a manner that is for the common good. Encouraging the use of electric vehicles helps us toward this goal by saving precious natural resources and prohibiting further carbon dioxide production, thus protecting the environment today and for future generations. We look forward to taking other steps on campus that have a local and global impact - that is 'The Power of Niagara.'"
All types of electric vehicles are compatible with the charging stations, which were installed by California-based ChargePoint Inc. There is a nominal fee to use the stations.
Niagara University participates in a summer season Power Pay Demand Response Program that compensates its sustainability committee for efforts to reduce energy consumption during specific periods of time. The funds are then utilized for sustainability programs on campus, such as the university's annual celebration of Earth Day. The purchase and installation of the new electric vehicle charging stations were funded entirely by the sustainability committee.
"The installation of these charging stations will power the vehicles that our students and employees use to get to and from campus; they will also create opportunities for dialogue about how we can all do more to contribute to a sustainable campus environment," said Daniel S. McMann, facility planner and sustainability committee co-chair.
Michael J. Freedman is the associate director of public relations and manager of online content for Niagara University.