The Big Green Bus

Who: 11 Students from Dartmouth College: Hayley Kennedy, Whitney MacFadyen, Esther Perman, Colleen Wearn, Lucas Schulz, Nate Raines, Kate Parizeau, Brent Butler, Frances Vernon, Merritt Jenkins, Chris Barth
Age: 19-23
What: 11 Dartmouth students, 1 veggie oil powered bus, 12,000 sustainable miles, all for a greener tomorrow

15 ultimate frisbee players made history in 2005 by starting The Big Green Bus. This summer, the third group of Dartmouth students made its way across the country in a vegetable oil powered bus. The mission of The Big Green Bus is: We are promoting the use of sustainable energy though education and example. As we travel around the country on a school bus converted to run on used vegetable oil, we seek to discuss environmental responsibility, the viability of alternative fuels, and tangible solutions to local and global energy issues. Our target audience is tomorrow’s leaders: college students, young politicians, young corporate leaders, young families, and others who are most likely to be affected by future energy issues.

Read the story from the Boston Herald below, and check out The Big Green Bus website:

“Change Your Fuel, Change the World”
By Erin McDonald
Boston Herald In Education
April 16, 2007

That’s the slogan of a group of Dartmouth College students who have crossed the country each summer since 2005 on an old school bus converted to run on used vegetable oil. A new crew is already gearing up to ride the bus out of the college town of Hanover, New Hampshire on June 11th and return to campus on August 30th after making over 40 stops across the United States to educate people about alternative energy sources.

The vision for the project began in 2005, when 15 ultimate Frisbee players from Dartmouth decided to take a cross-country trek to reach out to the Frisbee community at tournaments and raise awareness about the negative effects that burning fossil fuels has on the environment. They wanted to show people that alternative fuels were not a far-fetched idea of the future; they were available here and now. Instead of stopping at gas stations along the way, the Big Green Bus pulled up behind restaurants and (with permission, of course) filled up the tank with used cooking grease that would have otherwise been wasted. They also wanted to prove to the world that even though they were a small group, they could make a great impact on the environment and the way that people think of alternative sources of energy.

With the help of some handy engineering majors and professors, the students were able to create a bus that could run on waste vegetable oil, known as WVO for short. This “grease” is thicker than regular diesel that most school buses run on, so the bus needed two fuel tanks. The bus would begin by running on regular diesel until it warmed up enough to make the WVO thinner. Once the WVO was the same consistency as diesel, the entire engine switched over to run on nothing but the WVO—a fuel that doesn’t pollute our air!

In 2006, a new crew of bus members (with a few returning crew members) set off on another tour, but this time, on a new bus. During this second cross-country trip, they stopped at concerts, environmental fairs, camps, Dartmouth Alumni meetings, and other busy venues to reach out to the youth of America in a variety of settings and teach them about the benefits of alternative energy sources.

The summer of 2007 will be another busy season for the new team of Big Green Bus members, as they travel from New Hampshire to Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, California, Chicago, Ohio, and just about every state in between. They will make a stop in Boson on May 28th before heading back home to Dartmouth College. It’s not too often that one can see a giant green school bus rolling through town, so the students hope that the bus leads to plenty of media attention to better spread their message of going green to help the environment.

The Big Green Bus is a great example of the incredible impact that a small group of young people can have on the way citizens of America think about our environment. What do YOU think about the Big Green Bus and the message the students on the bus are trying to spread? How long will it be before all cars are running on waste vegetable oil instead of gasoline? Let your voice be heard! Check out our message board

You can read blogs written by the bus members and see updated photos as the Big Green Bus crew makes its cross-country trip this summer at!


~ by PJ on October 29, 2007.

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