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Fifth-annual summer trek for Dartmouth's Big Green Bus

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 05/19/09 • Media Contact: Susan Knapp (603) 646-3661

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Students on a mission to change the world in a veggie-powered bus

Jump to a section: Big Green Bus Podcasts | Big Green Bus Facts | 2009 Big Green Bus Crew

This summer, 15 Dartmouth students will embark on the fifth-annual cross-country trek of the Big Green Bus to raise awareness of energy conservation and environmental responsibility. This year’s crew will travel in a 1989 MCI coach-style bus with an engine re-built to run on waste vegetable oil and an interior renovated to drive home the message (so to speak) about green living.

The 2009 Big Green Bus crew
The 2009 Big Green Bus crew. (photo by Kawakahi Amina '09)

The group will leave Hanover, NH on June 16 with plans to be in San Francisco on July 25 and back to New Hampshire by late August – with lots of stops in between. For details on their tour schedule and to meet the 2009 crew, visit the Big Green Bus website and follow them on Twitter. Dispatches from the road, along with photos, will also be available at their Changents page. The Big Green Bus is a program of the Dartmouth Outing Club, which is currently celebrating its centennial.

This will be the second Big Green Bus adventure for Merritt Jenkins, a member of the Dartmouth Class of 2010 and the co-general manager of the bus this summer. “My interest lies in integrating environmental responsibility with economic progress,” says Jenkins, who is majoring in environmental studies with a focus in economics. “I hope to pursue environmental consulting or ‘green’ business after graduation, and on the bus this summer, I hope to covey to people that environmental stewardship is consistent with growth.”

The crew plans to make numerous stops at parks, science museums, and other public venues during their trip. The bus itself is a rolling science fair, outfitted with a variety of exhibits that highlight five areas of green living: reduce, reuse, and recycle; energy efficiency; cleaner and renewable energy and fuel; food choices; and action through voting on the local, state, and national levels.

Bus interior
The entire interior will be transformed into a rolling science fair. (photo by Kawakahi Amina '09)

“I am particularly excited about the new education program we have developed, which will be tailored to each region we visit,” says Kate Parizeau ’10, co-general manager this year who was also on the 2007 Big Green Bus trek. “The coach bus this year is a departure from our classic school-bus image. This was initially a concern, but the new platform and blank slate offered by a coach has provided us with so many opportunities, from engineering, to design, to education.” Parizeau plans to major in geography, with a minor in education.

This past winter, students in an engineering course on sustainable design tackled the job of making three major systems on the bus more efficient. The Big Green Bus crew is currently working to make the electrical, the cooling, and the water supply systems all more environmentally friendly in time for the departure in mid June. A supplemental air conditioning system will be set up that can run on electricity generated by roof-mounted solar panels, which will also power computers and re-charge cell phones. New water tanks on the bus will provide water for showers (with low-flow shower heads, of course) and for demonstration purposes, and the water tanks’ pump and heater will get power from the solar panels, too.

Corporate sponsors of the 2009 Big Green Bus are Newman’s Own, Waste Management, Timberland’s Earthkeepers, and Changents.



  • about 11,300 miles traveled each summer:
  • about 1,400 gallons of waste vegetable oil used each summer
  • 7 members of the 2009 crew with a commercial driver’s license (required to operate a bus or coach)
  • 53 seats removed to install public exhibit space
  • 4.5cubic feet of storage space each crew member has
  • 3bunk beds on the bus
  • 6solar panels on the roof of the bus
  • 1kitchen on the bus
  • 0bathrooms on the bus

THE 2009 BIG GREEN BUS TEAM – all Dartmouth College students

  • Dylan Nelson ’09 from Bellevue, WA
  • Kawakahi Amina ’09 from Honolulu, HI
  • Grayson Zulauf ’12 from Telluride, CO
  • Merritt Jenkins ’10 from Radnor, PA
  • Annabel Seymour ’09 from New York, NY
  • Matt Smith ’12 from Moultonborough, NH
  • Katherine Cholnoky ’10 from Darien, CT
  • Tessa Murphy ’09 from Chesapeake, VA
  • Marissa Knodel ’09 from Maple Grove , MN
  • Benjamin Gifford ’10 from Newton, MA
  • Anna Wearn ’12 from Portland, OR
  • Sarah Rocio ’10 from Weston, CT
  • Michael J. Wood ’10 from Bethel, VT
  • Katelyn C. Parizeau ’10 from Wellesley, MA
  • Lucas Schulz '08 from Johnson, Vermont
Bus interior
(photo by Kawakahi Amina '09)

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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