Business & Society

USU Center for Community Engagement Receives UCAIR Grant for Electric Cargo Van

The USU Center for Community Engagement has received a Utah Clean Air partnership grant for $25,000 to help purchase an electric cargo van.

Matching funds from Utah Conservation Corps, Sustainability Council Carbon Offset Fund, and the USU Gleaning program completed the vehicle purchase.

Utah State University’s Center for Community Engagement is taking significant strides in reducing both emissions and waste through its community-based programs, which include the Gleaning Team, the Urban Community Farm, Aggie Blue Bikes, and True Blue Reuse & Repair. Currently, these programs utilize a rented truck with poor gas mileage to divert unused food, textiles and bicycles from the landfill and redistribute them to the local community.

The electric cargo van will allow for an expansion of the programs and a major reduction in these programs’ fuel costs and transportation emissions. This project also has a twofold impact by targeting additional landfill emissions and providing community members with bikes to participate in active transportation.

The second phase of the project will be the design and application of a full vehicle wrap to promote the Center for Community Engagement food security, active transportation and waste reduction programs.

Kate Markman, USU gleaning coordinator, said, “The eye-catching electric cargo van will meet our transportation needs and also encourage the community to reduce waste and consider converting to electric vehicles.”

From the first week of July until the end of October, the USU gleaning program and its team of volunteers set to work harvesting produce that would otherwise go to waste or be left to rot. With the new electric cargo van, the gleaning team will increase weekly gleaning sessions from two to four days per week. Gleaning volunteers collect fruit and vegetables from local gardens and fruit trees to give to local food security programs — including USU’s own Student Nutrition Access Center (SNAC).

When not in use for gleaning, the electric cargo van will be hauling refurbished bikes for Aggie Blue Bikes, distributing produce for the Utah Conservation Corps Urban Farm, and serving as a mobile repair shop for True Blue Reuse & Repair.

Faculty and students interested in participating in CCE student-driven programs or helping design the vehicle wrap can email or call 435-797-8135.

For more information on the USU Center for Community Engagement, please visit


Kate Stephens
Associate Director
USU Center for Community Engagement


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