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Take the Commuter Challenge June 4-10

May 24, 2017

Click here to register for the Commuter Challenge

Time to dust off the old bike, lace up those walking shoes, or download all of S Town for bus binge listening and join 20,000 people across Canada taking on the Commuter Challenge. For one week in June, reduce your carbon footprint and walk, run, cycle, bus, carpool, and telecommute.

The Commuter Challenge is also a friendly competition, and it is a point of pride that Red River College has won GOLD in our workplace category for the last two years – let’s make it three!

RRC accepting the Commuter Challenge Award in 2016.

RRC accepting the Commuter Challenge Award in 2016.

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Register here
  2. Use sustainable transportation to get to and/or from work at least one day during the week of June 4-10
  3. Participate in one of our events throughout the week
  4. Log your daily commute
  5. Be entered to win great prizes!

Early Bird Prize: RRC employees who register for the Commuter Challenge by May 31 will be entered to win a prize.

RRC Commuter Challenge Events

The Sustainability Office wants to help you take on this challenge and keep you motivated to succeed. Here are some we’re doing that:

Commuter Welcome Stations
We will be welcoming our sustainable commuters to work in the morning with free treats and infused water to help you start your day. Stations will be set up to help you register for the Commuter Challenge and log your commute.

Tuesday, June 5 | Roblin Atrium | 7:30-9AM
Wednesday, June 6 | NDC Bus Loop | 7:30–9AM **NEW DATE**

Custom Bike Raffle
Win a gift certificate from Natural Cycle and upgrade your existing bike or get a new custom bike.

Tickets are 1 for $2, or 3 for $5 and can be purchased at any of the above events, or at the Sustainability Office (NDC, C519).

Tickets will be on sale Monday, May 29 until noon Friday, June 23.The winning ticket will be announced in All Staff News the week of June 26, 2017.

Please note: the value of the prize will depend on the number of tickets purchased.

Sustainable Transportation Resources

Red River College offers a 60% subsidized monthly bus pass for staff at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses. Find out more here.

Navigo – Plan your Winnipeg Transit trip
Selkirk Transit

Free Weekday Bus Pass for 5 Downtown Commuters
Green Action Centre & The Downtown Biz are teaming up during Commuter Challenge on the #Busisbetter campaign to get even more people taking public transit during the week. They are offering five weekday transit passes for RRC employees who work at one of the downtown campuses and who normally drive to work.

All you need to do is register for the Commuter Challenge, agree to take the bus for that week, and complete a survey about your transit experience. The first five eligible people who contact Whitney Crooks will receive a free transit pass!

Bikes on racks at NDC

Bike racks at NDC

Active Transportation
Bike racks are located around campus for your convenience. Downtown staff can park their bikes with peace of mind in our secure bike lock up inside the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. Register for the bike program in the Campus Living Office (Room 106, Massey Building) between 8:30 – 4:30.

Winnipeg Bike Map (or come by the Sustainability Office to pick up a copy)

Challenge Received and Achieved, Jack Frost!

March 1, 2017

The RRC Ice Rebels had a great time getting outside for the Jack Frost Challenge February 12-18. The challenge was to get outside and skate, cross-country ski, run, snowshoe, cycle and walk a total of 130km. We’re proud to announce that RRC’s very first Jack Frost Challenge team – the RRC Ice Rebels – crushed that goal early in the week and went on to travel a combined total of 247 KMs over the week!! Out of the 114 teams registered across Manitoba, we finished in 19th place, which we think is pretty amazing for our first try!

Here are our reflections on the week:

Dave on his fat bike at Global Fat Bike Day at The Forks in 2016

Dave at Global Fat Bike Day in 2016

I enjoyed being a part of the Jack Frost Challenge!  It was a fun way to meet likeminded people.  Also, through social media, it helped motivate friends and family to get out and get active.

The weather really presented a challenge for skiing [that] week.  With temperatures well above normal we lost significant amounts of snow during the week.  Needless to say this had an extremely detrimental effect on the trail conditions within the Winnipeg region.  Waxing for classic skiing when the weather is warm and the trails are icy and deteriorating is very difficult.  Each day brought slightly different conditions and different challenges.  On Saturday we switched over to skate skiing to make the best use of the remaining snow.  Hats off to the groomer at Windsor Park Nordic Centre for keeping the trails in good condition despite the soaring temperatures.

In previous years at the end of February I have gone down to Hayward, Wisconsin to compete in the American Birkebeiner 50 km ski race.  The “Birkie” is the largest ski race in North America with an attendance of roughly 10,000 skiers.  This year I am not attending…which is fortunate for me, but not for the organizers, since they are being forced to very likely cancel this year’s race at the last minute due to these unseasonably warm temperatures.  In fact, they received 25 mm of rain yesterday, which essentially destroyed the remainder of the 50 km of trail they have been trying so hard to protect these past few weeks.  Very sad.  Climate change and global warming are having a significant negative effect on the sport of cross country skiing and other winter sports throughout the world.  Go Green…so we can keep our winter wonderlands. Read More →

RRC Ice Rebels take on Jack Frost

February 9, 2017

The groundhogs have predicted (at least) 6 more weeks of winter, but we’re Manitobans so instead of retreating to our warm beds, we will embrace winter while it lasts!

Bougeons en Hiver: The Jack Frost Challenge is a weeklong challenge every February where people across Manitoba sign up to skate, cross-country ski, run, snowshoe, cycle and walk a total of 130km, either as a team or (for the hardcore) as an individual.

This year, we have signed up a team – the RRC Ice Rebels – and we’re ready to take on winter from February 12-18. Below, meet our teammates and find out how we plan to meet this challenge head on! Follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for updates throughout the week.

If you’d like to join our team, contact Whitney for more information. Or, start your own team and let us know your team name so we can trash talk cheer you on! And don’t forget – if you’re participating in the Get Movin’ Challenge this month you can count your Jack Frost Challenge activities towards your daily 7,000 step count and double your chances to win great prizes! Read More →

Sustainability: RRC takes Commuter Challenge GOLD!

July 7, 2015

commuter challenge



Congratulations to all RRC staff who helped us take GOLD in last months Commuter Challenge!

Not only did Manitoba and Winnipeg lead Canada in active commuting, but RRC had the highest percentage of participation in our organizational category. This is the first year RRC has received GOLD; we maintained a strong silver in 2013 and 2014.

102 staff members were active over the one week challenge. We (RRC) traveled 10,826 km, saved 775 L of fuel and avoided over 1506 kg of CO2! That’s the equivalent of running household electricity for 42 days. Check out “How much C02 is that?” for more interesting facts!

Carpooling was the mode of choice for RRC staff this year which represented 45%. Transit takers represented 23%, cyclists 22%, telecommuters 6% and scooters and walkers 4%.

It was also exciting to note that bike ridership increased 10% from last year. We hoped it was partly the result of offering Biking 101, a seminar(s) partnership between the Sustainability Office and Athletics and Recreation Services last April. If you missed the sessions, Dave Elmore taught us a lot about the anatomy of the bike, bike ridership, how to purchase a bike and we even went out and practiced some of our new skills. Click on this link to review the course slides.

Also a big “SHOUT OUT” to all of our regional campus commuters who registered and logged in under the RRC banner this year!

Thank you to The Commuter Challenge Provincial Coordinator and the Green Action Centre who kept us all organized during this national event!

Commuter Challenge: Another RRC success story!

July 4, 2014

Blog pic

Just a few of our sustainable commuters from Roblin Centre.

Red River College has a long history of success in the Commuter Challenge competition. For the 4th year in a row, the College has earned a 2nd place finish for our workplace category. This impressive result comes from the enthusiasm and participation from staff across all of our campuses.  A total of 186 staff actively commuted  during the week and we had great attendance at our many Commuter Challenge events. You can review Winnipeg’s workplace results here.

The bulk of our participants teamed up and carpooled to work 39%, 26% took transit and 15% cycled. Collectively we travelled 21,563 km – quite a significant distance considering a trip around the world is 40,075 km!

More importantly, we avoided 3000 kg of C02, that’s enough C02 to run an average house for 84 days, or (believe it or not) take a 5 minute flight.  Check out You Sustain to see how much C02 is generated by your everyday actions.

Thanks everyone for competing and having fun with us during the challenge. I look forward to rallying the troops again next year.

Remember you can make every day a commuter challenge day by taking an active and/or sustainable mode of transportation to work.  Here are a few resources to help get you on your way:

  • Red River College offers a 60% subsidized monthly bus pass for staff at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses. Find out more here.
  • Subscribe to and get matched up with suitable partners on your shared commute to work.
  • Downtown staff can park their bikes with peace of mind in our secure bike lock up inside the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. Register for the bike program in the Campus Living Office (Room 106, Massey Building) between 8:30 – 4:30.
  • Learn about the safest way to lock your bike here.

Happy trails everyone!


Red River College students vote on the U-Pass

February 20, 2014













The Students’ Association is throwing the question out there – Should Red River College students adopt a U-Pass program?

A U-Pass is a Universal Bus Pass that would give RRC students unlimited access to transit throughout the school year at a deeply discounted rate. U-Pass programs involve mandatory participation, making it similar to the Students’ Association Health and Dental benefits program. While some individuals may benefit more directly than others, U-Passes work by benefitting the student group as a whole.

Why would I want a Red River College U-Pass?

Here are 8 reasons why the U-Pass program might work for you.

Save Money!  A post-secondary transit pass costs $ 65.50. The monthly cost for a U-Pass would be $32.50. That’s a savings of 50%.

For drivers switching to the U-Pass, the savings are even more considerable. It costs a whopping $4,278 to own and operate an average car. Switching to transit can save the you anywhere from $1,800 – $4,000 annually. You can figure out your actual vehicle ownership costs, based on your vehicle type and mileage driven, with CAA’s Driving Costs Calculator.

Reduce your environmental impacts  Choosing public transit instead of driving a car lowers air pollution. Operating one bus replaces the emissions of 50 cars in rush hour and reduces air pollution by 10-25 times. Breathe easier!

Convenience  No more hassles with transfers or correct change. The U-Pass gives you unlimited transit ridership- anytime, any day.

Better transit service  The adoption of the U-Pass at Red River College would bring additional transit service to our campuses to accommodate increased passenger volumes.

Works for Drivers  Students who still want to drive to school will benefit from the U-Pass. The U-Pass brings increased transit ridership, which means less traffic on the road and reduced demand for student parking – making it easier to get a spot!

Works for Out-of-Towners  Students who live outside of the perimeter will also benefit from the U-Pass. Students can park at one of the 12 Park and Ride locations throughout the city and hop on the bus to school.

Works after school hours  The U-Pass gives you a safe and reliable ride home from your after-school events. No need to deal with parking hassles or flagging a cab after an evening out.

Good for our city  U-Passes are not “business as usual” for transit systems. Jumps in campus ridership of 50% or more are common. In other cities, many students who used the U-Pass continue to use transit as their primary mode of transportation after graduating.

How can Red River College get a U-Pass program?

The U-Pass must be approved by a majority (50% +1) vote of the student body through a referendum set out by the Students’ Association Bylaws. The vote will take place online between March 28th and April 3rd alongside the Students’ Association executive election. Each student will receive an email to their academic email containing a link to the online ballot, and their unique password allowing them to vote for both the U-Pass and the incoming executive.

Want to learn more?

Information sessions will be held to give students more information on the U-Pass and answer all questions. Winnipeg Transit will also be on hand to talk about the technologies that make riding Transit easier than ever. All attendees will be automatically entered to win an iPad mini- the perfect transit commuting toy. 🙂

Wednesday, March 19th from 12:00 – 1:00pm in the Black Lecture Theatre (NDC)

Wednesday, March 19th from 1:00 – 2:00pm in the Black Lecture Theatre (NDC)

Thursday, March 20th from 12:00 – 1:00pm in P107 (Roblin Centre)

Thursday, March 20th from 1:00 – 2:00pm in P107 (Roblin Centre)

Happy riding!

The EcoPass Edition

January 7, 2014

For two years Red River College has offered the EcoPass — a 60% subsidized monthly transit pass — to employees who work at one of our downtown buildings. Negotiated as part of the Collective Agreement, the purpose of the program is to provide a benefit to our downtown employees in light of higher parking rates and more frequent and accessible bus service in Winnipeg’s downtown.

We’ve crunched the numbers on the Ins and Outs of this program and discovered some interesting tidbits to share with you, our sustainably-minded readers. 🙂

Tidbit #1: Bus ridership rates vary considerably across our downtown campuses.

November 2013 EcoPass Ridership rates“What accounts for the 45 point spread in downtown ridership?” you might ask. We chalk this discrepancy up to the EcoPass. The Paterson GlobalFoods Institute (PGI) is the only RRC building to come on stream since the College started offering EcoPass program. When PGI staff weighed their commuting options, the draw of a $33 monthly bus pass compared to shelling out $120+ monthly for parking was enough of a financial difference stop and consider the bus as a viable commuting option.

Tidbit #2: Bus Commute Times and Car Commute Times aren’t that different

In advance of staff moving to the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute last year, I calculated how long it would take those staff to commute to work by bus and by car. I figured out the bus commute time (which includes the time it takes to walk to a bus stop and/ or wait for transfers) using Navigo, Winnipeg Transit’s Trip Planner. For the car commute time, I used Google maps and included the time it would take to walk from a nearby parking lot to the building.

Much to my surprise (and delight) I could not believe my eyes to discover that it takes an average of 4 minutes longer for Winnipeg-based staff to commute from their homes to PGI. For those staff who live outside city limits, it took an average of 14 minutes longer to get to work by driving to one of the city’s 12 Park and Ride locations and busing to work. (To see the complete transportation analysis, go here.)

I encourage you to try this little experiment for yourself to see how your commute times stack up. You might be surprised.

Tidbit #3: The EcoPass sets Red River College apart

Red River College has been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2011, 2012 and 2013. We receive this award for breadth and impact of our sustainability initiatives on campus. On the transportation front, we have a bunch of programs in place to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. These include: biodiesel production for our fleet, free online carpool matching, preferred parking for carpoolers, free indoor bike parking and the EcoPass program.

There are 109 employers in Winnipeg who offer the EcoPass program. The amount of the EcoPass subsidy can vary from 5% to 100%, though a 30% subsidy is a common rate. Red River College is the only post-secondary institution in Winnipeg to offer the EcoPass and we’re proud to be one of only two large Winnipeg employers (with the United Way of Winnipeg being the other) to offer the program at a 60% subsidy level.

Anyways, those are our tidbits. Happy commuting. 🙂

Theft Prevention > Bike Recovery

September 12, 2013

Bikes and Bikers.

Bikes and Bikers.

Over the years we’ve seen more and more students and staff embrace the power of the pedal by commuting to Red River College by bike. Spring and Fall months, in particular, bustle with bikes.

While reported incidents of bike theft on campus are low (approx. 1/ year), having your bike stolen sucks. Full stop.

Take a read through these tips to help ensure that at the end of the day your bike is where you left it.

#1 Buy a good bike lock – a U-lock. U-locks are strong and the better ones come with theft warranties. Look for U-locks with flat or disc keys instead of cylindrical keyed locks since they are more easily picked. But unlike lottery winnings and bags of movie theatre popcorn, bigger isn’t better. Smaller U-locks give potential thieves less room to pry/ hack/ saw the lock.

#2 Try the Sheldon Brown bike locking technique. Do this by locking your back wheel *inside the rear triangle of your bike frame* to the bike rack. This will protect your wheel and frame, even though you’re not actually locking your frame to anything. While it may seem counterintuitive to only lock your wheel, bike experts will tell you that cutting a rear wheel to nab a bike is a difficult thing to do and rarely happens. Plus, front wheels are half the price of back wheels (with all of their special gears and such) so if you can only protect one wheel, make it the back one.

Sheldon Brown locking technique

Sheldon Brown in action.

#3 Remove detachable items like lights, bags and quick release parts and take them with you.

#4 Register your bike with the City of Winnipeg Bike Recovery Program. Nearly 3,000 bikes are reported stolen in Winnipeg every year and, sadly, fewer than half of them are recovered. What’s worse is less than 10% recovered bikes are ever returned to their owners because ownership cannot be traced. By taking the time — and shelling out the $6.10 — to register your bike, you’ll be notified if your bike is recovered.

Happy cycling, y’all.

Commuter Challenge – the results are in!

June 27, 2013

The results are in, and Manitoba has again placed first in the country for the Commuter Challenge.

At the workplace level, Red River College received a 2nd place finish, coming in behind the Assiniboine Credit Union (ACU). Next year it’s “game on” between ACU and RRC as they nudged us out of a first place finish by a mere 18 people!

Our second place finish is still sweet as we achieved record participation levels with 159 College employees who bused, biked, carpooled and teleworked during the challenge week. That’s an unprecedented participation rate of 28%. This is no small feat, as no other educational institution in Manitoba surpassed the 15% participation threshold. The Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg had participation rates of 2.9% and 8.3% respectively. Congratulations Team RRC! Read all the local results here.

I want to extend an extra “high five” to those staff who led the pack during the Commuter Challenge. Collectively these staff travelled 6634 km. and avoided producing 1028 kg. of GHG.

Walkers: Trilby, Zaheer Ahmad, Tara Luchuck, Aynsley, Debbie Simpson, Dennie Cormack

Carpoolers: Lorelei Henry, Elly Acton, Gail Emms, Deb Blower, Dennie Cormack, Trilby, Debbie Simpson and Sherrie Cooke

Cyclists: Mike Poitras, James Voth, Gordon Lee, Greg Dyck, Gord Bone

Transit takers: Zaheer Ahmad, Trilby, Norlan Page, Staphnie Chuhai, Petra Martel

Telecommuters: Peter Denton, Eva Brown, Deb Blower, Mike Arsenault

Finally congratulations to our prize winners: Pam Grimshaw who won a bike pannier for being one of the first 100 to register for the Commuter Challenge and John Mark Allen who won the coveted custom-built bike / extreme bike makeover (valued at $600) from Natural Cycle!

It was great seeing the spirit of RRC come to life in support of the challenge and seeing so many new people participating, getting active and helping the planet.

See you all next year!

My Commuter Challenge Success Story

June 6, 2013


Sue Hayduk – RRC Sustainability Coordinator

Hi everyone. Last week I confessed that I had never commuted to work by bike. I’m pleased to let you know that I succeeded in my commuter challenge and biked to work!  I found that once I got on my bike and started riding, any fear I had at the outset melted away. I prepared by using the City of Winnipeg’s 2013 Cycling Map to plan my bike route and took note of the bike lanes or wider roadways on my drive home. What really made the difference was mapping my route on Google Maps using the bike filter. I was surprised to see that the commute was only 9 km. I thought, “I can do that”, and, well, I did!  The savings to the environment were also significant. I saved 1 litre of fuel and avoided 1.87 kg of CO2 from going into the atmosphere!

This experience really pushed my comfort zone – not only to bike comfortably on the road, but to take the time to prepare and change the way I do something every day. I am really glad I took the Commuter Challenge and I can now see myself riding my bike to work more often!

I hope my story encourages those RRC participants who have registered for the Commuter Challenge but have not yet logged their sustainable commute. You can do it – Go Team RRC!