Gruen gets “Commute Smart” award

The recipients of the 2012 Governor’s Commute Smart Awards were chosen on Nov. 5, recognizing Bellevue College’s Sustainability and Resource  Conservation Manager Deric Gruen. The award celebrates leaders who have tried to make Washington State a better place to live and work. The correlation between the 22 honorees is each one’s efforts to move transportation forward in the workplace and community.

“I have heard really nice feedback from students, faculty and staff in addition to the support of the college as a whole, which is appreciated. It is really the success of all of our community who have pulled together on this issue,” said Gruen. Those who are chosen for the award display innovation and initiative to support communities strengthen the state’s economy to ease the stress of transportation on the environment.

Fall quarter kicked off with the promotion of BC RideMatch, a carpool system that collects commuting information and schedules from students to find the best match to share rides with.  The system is cost conscientious when it comes to paying for the expense of gas. Students have also benefitted from the time saved by being able to use HOV lanes on the way to school. The purpose of the system is to provide a networking system that makes it easy to connect with members of the BC community.

With the huge student body at BC, creating ways to condense vehicle density on campus will reduce harm to the environment. The “Commute Smart” award  is a celebration of efficient transportation and public spending. The management of RideMatch has been very rewarding for Gruen. “I’m proud that BC has taken a leadership role on transportation in this state, and I’m pleased to facilitate students and employee enthusiasm towards this critical issue,” he said.

Dating back to the state legislature in 1991, the Commute Trip Reduction Law has been in place to encourage workers to choose transportation options that reduce the number of vehicles. The purpose of this was to prevent congestion on the road. “Transportation has a huge impact on shaping our college, our communities and our lives. By increasing usage of ridesharing, transit, walking and biking, we become more interconnected, reduce spending on asphalt, and reduce the risks of climate change and ‘frankenstorms’ like [hurricane] Sandy,” said Gruen.

BC students and faculty put in a lot of work to deliberate and identify transportation solutions on a statewide basis. In closing, Gruen expressed his appreciation by commenting, “Thanks to all of you who have made our programs a success and continue to do so by participating in our support programs like BC RideMatch, Commuter Check for ORCA, Bike to BC and more.”

BC RideMatch has offered several promotions in the past couple of months. In September, students received $5 Café Vouchers for signing up for the program. This month, students who carpooled six days to campus and recorded their trips are eligible for six chances to win a $50 gas card. For more information, contact