SUNY New Paltz Installs Its First Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Feb 12, 2015

Credit WAMC, Allison Dunne

The State University of New York at New Paltz has installed its first electric vehicle charging stations. The stations are part of an overall campus sustainability plan.

Sustainability Coordinator for SUNY New Paltz Lisa Mitten says the new charging stations are designed to help create a new car culture on campus.

“SUNY New Paltz just installed six new electric vehicle car charging stations,” says Mitten. “One of the main reasons why we’re able to do it and install six at this time is because we installed mostly free of charge from public state money coming from NYSERDA.”

It’s part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Charge NY program, an initiative headed by the New York Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The program aims to establish a statewide network of up to 3,000 electric vehicle, or EV, charging stations by 2018. Mitten says she sent out emails Wednesday to gauge demand for additional EV charging stations.

“I sent out a survey to faculty and staff on campus asking them in four simple questions if they’d consider an electric vehicle for their next car purchase,” says Mitten. “It doesn’t make sense right now for us to have 50 car charging stations, but we will definitely install more if there is enough demand.”

She says in researching the stations, she looked to SUNY campuses that already have charging stations, such as SUNY Buffalo  and SUNY Purchase, in Westchester County. EV charging will cost $1 an hour for the first four hours, then $5 per hour after that. Mitten explains that the pricing is intended to promote sharing among drivers; the stations are intended for topping-off and not for everyday use. The stations are available for staff and students as well as visitors.

Credit WAMC, Allison Dunne

The new charging stations are one of many new sustainable transportation options at SUNY New Paltz. The college town is known for its sometimes snarled traffic. Other recent improvements include a bike share program with new bike racks across campus; a Zipcar rental program for students; a new transportation hub at the Route 32 parking lot; and weekend service for the New Paltz Loop Bus. Mitten says going green on wheels is part of a larger sustainability agenda.

“In the past year, I have launched a zero-waste program at SUNY New Paltz. I’m starting in the residence halls,” Mitten says. “So with a zero-waste program there are a couple of goals. First is to decrease the overall amount of waste, regardless of what happens to it, that goes to the university. And then the second goal is to increase the diversion rate so that more of the material is diverted through composting and recycling as opposed to going to a landfill.”

She says one change has been a switch in the 13 residence halls to single-stream recycling, where plastic, glass, metal, paper, and cardboard are put into one bin. Plus, the annual eight-week contest known as RecycleMania kicked off this week. Melissa Aichetta is president of the campus Recycling Club.  The senior has been involved in running the competition since she was a freshman.

“So we tally up how much recycling is collected from each dorm and then we divide it by the amount of people in that dorm and you get pounds-per-person recycling,” says Aichetta. “And this year we’re including landfill and organics so it’s more of a diversion rate that students are diverting from the landfill, from the waste stream.”

The higher the diversion rate, the better. She says that during RecycleMania residence hall staff educates students about recycling and puts on recycling programs, such as events surrounding upcycling and repurposing. Aichetta explains.

“We do crafts. Actually, the radio station here gave us 5,000 CDs that they were converting to digital,” says Aichetta. “So they gave us all their old CDs. We had boxes and boxes of them.”

She says students have been busy crafting new lives for CDs and CD cases.

“We do CD keepsake boxes where we take the cases and we put them together and then we decorate them.  And then we cut up the CDs and mosaic tile them,” says Aichetta. “We also do CD curtains where we cut the CDs in half, hole punch each side and then weave string through them and make room decorative pieces.”

As for the new Level 2 EV charging stations, they are in the Route 32 and Elting Gym parking lots and marked with bright green painted lines.