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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has partnered with Zimride to launch a free, online network for ridesharing for students, faculty and staff.

The private UW Oshkosh network — — allows individuals to connect for shared commutes or one-time rides, thus reducing campus traffic; lowering demands on parking; and providing a sustainable, cost-saving option for the campus community.

“We’re thrilled to bring this new and exciting transportation alternative to the UW Oshkosh community,” said Brandon Heise, UW Oshkosh’s coordinator of technical services for Reeve Memorial Union. “Zimride’s solution is really appealing to our many commuter students as well as faculty and staff commuters. It also makes it easier for students to share rides out of town on the weekends.”

Zimride, the largest online social rideshare community in North America, customized its rideshare solution to serve UW Oshkosh’s campus population. Through Zimride’s Web-based interface, UWO faculty, staff and students will be able to find other people with similar commuting patterns or for one-time rides.

Thanks to the optional Facebook integration, “Zimriders” can view others’ profiles to find common networks, interests and friends before deciding whether to share a ride. Users create profiles that show their favorite in-car music and smoking preferences, for example.

The partnership marks another step forward in campus sustainability practices. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, driving personal vehicles contributes 19 percent of overall CO2 emissions. In 2009, the Department of Labor reported that the average U.S. household spent more than 17 percent of its annual income on transportation.

“The Zimride partnership is a strong addition to the alternative transportation options for UW Oshkosh staff and students,” said Michael Lizotte, the University’s director of sustainability. “This is another great example of UW Oshkosh students’ dedication to coming up with — and paying for — sustainable solutions for campus.”

Zimride has implemented private rideshare communities for more than 50 of the nation’s leading universities and companies, including Stanford, UCLA, University of Michigan, Cornell University, Wal-Mart and CIGNA.