We, the high school students of Instituto Tepeyac, created “Rolling Together” to search for a way to reduce the carbon footprint of our community, using a carpool reward system that involved the participation of students, teachers, and parents.
Year by year human populations have increased around world. This has already started becoming a problem since overpopulation means more people with cars and more cars contaminating the environment.
Guadalajara is a metropolitan Mexican city; it is the second most populated area of Mexico; it’s one of the 120 most productive cities in the world, and it is the capital of the state of Jalisco. The Instituto Tepeyac Campus Guadalajara is located in the south-west of Guadalajara.
The Insituto Tepeyac family is made up of 7 campuses: Cuautitlán, Santa Anita, Xcaret, Vallarta, Coacalco, Capital Norte and Guadalajara.
We, the high school students of the institute, did some research and concluded that in the last thirty years the growth of cars in Jalisco has increased 550% and currently there are more than 3.5 million verified vehicles.
We started by doing a survey of the Tepeyac community, which gathered the necessary information to view the problem in our community, and we supervised the official statistics of the INEGI (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía).
We thought of possible solutions that could stop and/or reduce the increased use of cars, because they produce polluting gases that harm not only the environment but also the population. Since we couldn’t do anything that would have involved all of the state of Jalisco, we focused on our school and we created a carpool reward system which involved the participation of the whole school community (preschool, elementary, middle and high school students, parents and teachers); we adapted our project for every different section since several high school students already have a car. We told them to share their cars between their friends; and for preschool to middle school we gave them the idea so they could tell their parents to share their cars with other students. During this process, we created an awareness campaign about the disadvantages of the unmeasured use of vehicles and the benefits of carpooling.
We divided our initiative in two phases. In the first phase, we created the awareness campaign so the community could understand the environmental issue. To do this, we used the information of our previously made survey and we supervised the official statistics of the INEGI (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía), which we used to make a video that showed the characteristics of the traffic flow in our city and its consequences. This video was presented to the Instituto Tepeyac community, explaining the activities we could do individually or as a team to solve our present problem.
With the support of sponsors we obtained several rewards to give to the participants. When they had obtained 5 stamps from sharing their cars they could receive: water bottles, pens, pencils, highlighters, cardboards, or a free lunch (with 5 stamps plus 5 purchases at the school’s cafeteria); with 10 stamps: a water thermos, pencil case, free car wash; 15 stamps: ecological bag, notebooks, folders; 20 stamps: car accessories (like antifreeze), car oil, makeup bag; 25 stamps: a sun cover for the car, Rolling Together shirts and caps; 30 stamps: prepaid Starbucks card, Cinepolis cards, among others. This is how we obtained the rewards we needed for our project and by doing this we created a win-win situation for our participants, sponsors and the precious environment.
In the case of the sponsors, their products were shared with the more than 1,000 families that are part of the IT community.
We organized the carpool dynamic by using a previously made register form and did some activities that involved the participation of the whole school community to promote our campaign.
The participants chose their rewards as they were getting their stamps; when the students, parents and teachers saw the rewards every participant was getting, it encouraged them to sign up for the initiative and the number of the participants increased significantly.
We realized that a well-organized and informed community can make a big difference since the flow of vehicles in our community was lowered by 32%. This project was really fun to make and the whole team learned a lot from this. We all hope we have another chance to do something similar.