Students Discuss Sustainable Transportation Practices to L.A.

By Cally Orme ’11 & Alex Tyson ‘11Guest Writers

On Nov. 14, the New Student Program hosted an event, Sustainability at Scripps, where students had the opportunity to learn about how they can use public transportation in the Los Angeles area and what they can do to make Scripps a more sustainable community.

While many people may find public transportation in the greater Los Angeles area daunting and nearly impossible, the event was aimed at demonstrating that the system is not as hard to use as many think. Whether or not you have a car, the public transportation system gives residents the opportunity to travel throughout LA without the hassles of infamous LA traffic and the difficulty of finding and paying for parking.  Not only are these concerns alleviated, but taking the MetroLink into LA gives passengers the chance to sit back, listen to some music, read a book or chat with friends.

Lindsey Walton (‘01) was one of the two presenters at the event. She talked to the group about how to use public transportation in Los Angeles and around Claremont. Walton, who lives in downtown Los Angeles, is a huge advocate of public transportation and takes public transportation everyday to work in Claremont.  Walton told the group that public transportation in Los Angeles is like public transportation in any other city; it just takes a little more research.  Whether you want to go to the Santa Monica Pier, the LACMA or down to San Diego, you can use the Los Angeles public transportation to get there.

Walton provided handouts about using public transportation and how to get to specific locations around Los Angeles. Laura Hoverson (‘11) was surprised by her new knowledge about LA public transportation: “I never realized how many places you can explore easily in the LA area using just the MetroLink.”  The presentation was especially applicable to students at the Claremont Colleges, who have a plethora of opportunities at their fingertips with their proximity to Los Angeles, but who rarely take the opportunity to explore what the area has to offer because of the perceived constraints that come with not owning a car.

While the group discussed all the benefits of public transportation, they also noted the improvements to the public transportation system in LA that could be made to make it more accessible to students.  The main downside of the system is the hours during which the MetroLink runs.  For example, the last train into LA leaves during the weekdays at 8 p.m., which makes it difficult to enjoy the incredible nightlife that the city offers.  Although this is an unfortunate aspect of the system, day trips into LA are still a great option for those looking to explore the area outside of Claremont.  The handouts Walton provided will be available in SARLO; please stop by if you would like to learn more about how to navigate the system.

After hearing from Lindsey, Sara Zuniga (’12) spoke to the group regarding sustainability at Scripps and what groups on campus are doing to make Scripps more sustainable. Zuniga is a current Scripps student and is a member of the Scripps Sustainability Committee. She worked at Scripps this summer doing research for the committee, and she told the group what she learned through her work this summer.  Scripps is working hard to be more sustainable, but she emphasized the importance of Scripps students in contributing to the effort. Simple things such as turning off the lights when you leave your room or reporting leaky faucets or sprinklers to maintenance right away make a huge difference. Sara also talked about changes that are being made to the dining hall in order to bring in more organic and locally grown food.

Sustainability at Scripps is an important and topical issue for which each student can do his or her part, whether it’s making sure to conserve energy and recycle on campus or to use public transportation when we leave campus.  Please visit SARLO for more information about public transportation in the area, and please visit http://www.scrippscollege.edu/about/green/index.php for more information on the sustainability effort at Scripps.