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UNDERGRADUATE SAM ROSEMARK LANDS 2 ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES FOR MORRIS

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

March 1, 2021


Interviewer:

"You spearheaded an electric bus project for Morris that is bringing $550,000 in new funding from the Volkswagen Settlement to your community. How were you able to make the collaboration with the school district such a success?"


Sam Rosemark:

"My supervisor, Troy Goodnough, notified me of an upcoming grant opportunity with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that he thought would be a cool project that I could work on: electric buses. The Morris Model group and I created an application for electric buses on behalf of the school district.


A big component of the electric bus application and grant opportunity was that it would benefit folks in the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. In Morris, we’re not as diverse as other communities, of course, but we still are pretty diverse for rural Minnesota. Morris has a large Native American population, so throughout the application process, we wanted to focus on that. To do so, we worked with the Native American Program Coordinator in the school district and used census data. Clean air is important for everybody. Historically, people in BIPOC communities have not had equal access to clean air. When you have kids from BIPOC communities, or any community, riding school buses with diesel emissions and lining up outside to get onto the bus, the exhaust has a real impact on their health.


The first step was to connect with the district and meet with the school administrators. My primary contact with whom I coordinated extensively was the transportation director, Deann Recker. It was clear that our interests were aligned. They were looking to acquire new school buses to replace buses that needed to be retired. The grant would help fund the transition. I drafted the grant application and assisted with gathering data on how new, zero-emission buses would benefit the community, especially those most at risk to pollutants. Deann coordinated with the school district and researched the buses the district was looking to replace, including their yearly mileage, diesel consumption and Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs). She also worked with manufacturers to get quotes for the new electric buses.


With the $550,000 we are able to purchase two LionC buses from The Lion Electric Co. They have a 100-mile range between charges. Morris is receiving two of the ten electric buses available in the program statewide."