Students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) this fall semester have probably noticed a set of footprints outside of the Milo Bail Student Center.
The Little Steps Big Impact campaign installed footsteps all across the Omaha metro area on Aug. 15 and 16. The campaign hopes to inspire residents to make impactful changes to improve our air quality.
Omaha-Council Bluffs area ozone readings are close to an unacceptable level, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Students have the opportunity to reduce the environmental impact by using alternative methods while traveling to or from campus.
“As a community, using the free bus system gives us positive feedback and will be worthwhile if people take it. It may reduce the number of cars on the road,” said John McCarty, Ph.D., director of Environmental Science at UNO.
The campaign is organized so that each person has the chance to reduce ground-level ozone and improve the air.
“I think it’s definitely a great way to raise awareness, especially with our campus being commuter-friendly, with everyone talking about not enough parking,” said Dominiqic Williams, assistant director of competitive sports at the H&K Center.
Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) Information Officer Sue Cutsforth said that by seeing the little footsteps on campus, the ideas will be taken to heart by everyone. After all, we all breathe the same air.
The “little footsteps” seen in the metro are actually double the average American foot. Ten steps are included in each set, accompanied with 10 versions of informative rhymes inspired by Burma Shave signs.
More steps will be installed in high foot traffic areas, including Aksarben, Blackstone, Village Pointe, Midtown Crossing, Old Market and more. Everyone is encouraged to post their steps on social media using #LittleStepsBigImpact and #SharetheAir.