Justin Licke served on the Transportation SWATeam through his graduation in December 2014 with a degree in General Engineering and a concentration in Renewable Energy Systems in the College of Engineering. Outside of his studies, he was heavily involved with the Campus Bike Center and its community counterpart, The Bike Project. He has also participated in the Solar Decathlon competition to build solar-powered houses.
Justin has long been a “casual proponent” of sustainable transportation on campus. Throughout his four years at the University of Illinois, he always looked for ways to reduce his personal environmental impact. Joining the Transportation SWATeam, he said, came as a natural extension of his personal drive for sustainability.
He believes that transportation offers a unique challenge because individuals often forget or lose sight of their collective impact. Success will ultimately depend on fairly dramatic personal lifestyle and behavioral changes, he said.
Campus is already off to a good start, and Justin is grateful not to have to start from a clean slate. He acknowledges that the nationally recognized Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (CUMTD) and that campus’ location in a “Bicycle Friendly Community” are making it easier for students, faculty, and staff to travel energy-efficiently. Justin believes a challenge for the SWATeam will be avoiding “patting ourselves on the back” and not pursuing further improvements.
His greatest hope is that more people make conscious decisions regarding sustainability. Necessary — and greatly beneficial — material improvements are certainly needed to reach Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) goals, but Justin sees increased awareness and commitment to sustainability as the greatest benefit of his work on the SWATeam.