2008-2009

WPI Announces Partnership with Zipcar

In continuing WPI’s commitment to investing in sustainable solutions, the university has partnered with Zipcar, the world’s largest provider of cars on demand by the hour or day. This new partnership allows WPI to provide Zipcars to faculty, staff, and students as an environmentally friendly alternative to keeping a car on campus.

University Brings Earth-Friendly Car Sharing to Campus

WORCESTER, Mass. - August 26, 2008 - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has announced a partnership with Zipcar, the world's largest provider of cars on demand by the hour or day. This new partnership allows WPI to provide Zipcars to WPI faculty, staff, and students as an environmentally friendly alternative to keeping a car on campus. The partnership continues WPI's commitment to investing in sustainable solutions, and marks Zipcar's entry on campus, bringing its operations to more than 50 cities, including London, England, and 26 North American states and provinces.

Beginning in A-Term, two self-service Zipcars – 2008 Honda Civic Hybrids – will be available for use 24 hours a day, seven days a week, parked along the campus Quadrangle. The cars will be available to all staff and students aged 18 and older, with gas, maintenance, insurance, and reserved parking included in low hourly and daily rates. Zipcar was selected as WPI's car sharing partner based on its superior technology and operations, membership experience, and track record of providing peer universities with a proven, cost effective, and environmentally friendly transportation solution.

"At WPI, we are aware of the impact our students' transportation choices have on our campus, the Worcester community, and the environment as a whole," said Janet Begin Richardson, WPI's vice president for student affairs and campus life. "By partnering with Zipcar, we have one more tool in our kit to encourage students to leave their personally owned vehicles at home during the school year, while teaching them to make sustainable transportation choices that we hope will extend beyond their college years."

Bringing Zipcar to WPI compliments the many other environmentally friendly initiatives at the university. One of the best examples of those initiatives came about last year when WPI established the President's Task Force on Sustainability in order to drive a "sustainability sensibility" into the university's academic, research, and administrative endeavors. However, WPI's commitment to sustainable living is long standing and can be seen throughout the campus in a variety of forms. 

The university opened its first U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building – the Bartlett Center, home of WPI's admissions and financial aid offices -- in 2006. This month, WPI opens its newest residence hall, which comes complete with energy-saving features that include a green roof. The building is likely to achieve gold-level LEED certification. In February 2007, WPI's Board of Trustees voted to adopt a policy calling for all future buildings on campus to be environmentally friendly and LEED-certified structures.Another WPI project, Gateway Park LLC, a partnership between the university and Worcester Business Development Corp., has transformed an area of abandoned buildings and contaminated properties into a thriving, award-winning site for life sciences research and economic development.The university has also expanded its recycling program to include aluminum, glass, and plastic returnable and non-returnable containers.  This fall, to tie in with the launch of Zipcar at WPI, the university will also offer reserved campus parking spots for Hybrid vehicles.

Academically, WPI will offer as of this fall a bachelor of arts program in environmental studies. The new major is designed to educate future environmental professionals with the knowledge and skills that will cross boundaries and foster thought leadership in this important area.  In addition, WPI offers an environmental engineering major, and the university's commitment to sustainability can also be seen in the project work being done by WPI students and professors at sites around the globe.

For WPI's students who cannot or do not want to bring a privately owned car to school, Zipcar provides the freedom to travel off campus to attend interviews, run errands, or to take a weekend trip. Zipcar also eliminates hundreds of dollars in monthly transportation costs, saving members an average of $436 per month or $5,232 per year when compared with car ownership – money that can be put toward other more relevant expenses such as tuition and housing.  WPI Faculty, staff, and students will be able to join Zipcar for $35 and will gain access to University's Zipcars for $7 per hour or $60 per day.  All members who are over the age of 21 will also have access to Zipcar's network of more than 5,000 vehicles throughout the UK and North America.

Those interested in learning more about Zipcar at WPI can visit www.zipcar.com/wpi for more information about membership and hourly rates.

About Zipcar

Zipcar is the world's leading car sharing service with more than 180,000 members and 5,000 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout 25 North American states and provinces as well as in London, England. As a leader in urban transportation, Zipcar offers more than 25 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to savvy city residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car in the city. In November 2007, Zipcar announced a merger with Washington D.C. based Flexcar, immediately expanding operations to more than 50 cities, and enabling future growth into new markets across the United States, Canada, and Europe. For more information, visit www.Zipcar.com.

August 26, 2008

Contact: Lorraine U. Martinelle, Public Relations Specialist, +1-508-831-6425, lurbans@wpi.edu Eileen Brangan Mell, Director of Public Relations, +1-508-831-6785, ebmell@wpi.edu