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AU Buses Sport New Look

American University's new biodiesel shuttle bus

Three new, biodiesel shuttle buses have recently hit the road and are touting AU’s stance on sustainability and clean energy—along with some points of pride—through bold and bright designs.  

The “WONK”ified vehicles are the next three clean-energy buses to be added to the university’s fleet, the look of which has not changed since the 1990s.

The buses, which arrived on campus unmarked, were given the WONK treatment through custom-designed wraps, a joint effort between AU’s Facilities Management and University Communications & Marketing departments.

Serving the dual purpose of communicating AU’s zero waste efforts to the community and being easily identifiable to riders as university vehicles, the buses introduce the forthcoming, fresh look that will further integrate university-wide branding and sustainability initiatives through cohesive visuals.

MORE: AU Zero Waste Policy

Mark Feist, AU’s assistant director of grounds, vehicle maintenance and support services, was pleased to use the wrap, a necessary application to the bus, as an opportunity to communicate university and student achievements and comprehensive green efforts.

"The new design is the perfect opportunity to showcase our shuttles in a way that also highlights our commitment to the education process and our branding for the university as well. It gives Facilities a lot of pride to have the shuttles serve as an extension to our service of not only providing transportation, but also as a means to market the university to our broader community,” Feist said.

While all buses in the nine-bus fleet are fueled by 20-percent biodiesel, B20, new buses offer added emissions reductions due to engines’ enhanced clean-burning capabilities. These three buses, in addition to two others acquired after 2010, feature mechanical improvements that contribute to further energy savings. In essence, the newer engine itself generates savings in addition to overall usage of clean fuel.

AU adopted biodiesel-fueling methods for its entire fleet in December 2012, when the university transitioned to the alternative fuel (made from renewable resources) after obtaining an on-campus 1,000-gallon storage tank.

The addition of the new buses will help achieve AU’s goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by the turn of the next decade. The Carbon Neutral 2020 initiative also includes campus-wide plans for composting, sourcing electricity from renewable resources, and a green building policy, among other proposals.

Plans to continue to replace older buses with these new, uber-efficient models are in the works, and branding and identification efforts will follow suit.