Immediately after theNational Alternative Fuels Training Consortium’s announcement that the 2012 National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey is set for Oct. 18, site coordinators began signing up to conduct events.Alabama Clean Fuels Coalitionwas the first organization to commit to hosting an event.With Lawson State Community College’s Bessemer campus as its co-host, Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition will conduct its third Odyssey event Oct. 18, having participated in both 2008 and 2010.Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition Executive Director Mark Bentley said he is excited to again host this important event dedicated to promoting alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.“Each day the U.S. sends over a billion dollars to foreign governments to purchase petroleum,” Bentley explained. “We need to work to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Many folks are still not aware of the benefits of alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles. Odyssey Day is a great way to educate everyone in a professional and demonstrative manner.“What better venue than utilizing the facilities at Lawson State Community College, which is an authorized NAFTC (National Training Center) location serving Alabama?” he added. “Combining expert speakers with a great presentation of vehicles, all under the Odyssey Day banner, allows consumers, fleets and municipalities to come, enjoy and get their questions answered!”
Attendees at Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition’s 2010 Odyssey event view an advanced technology vehicle. Credit: Alabama Clean Fuels CoalitionNAFTC Executive Director and National Odyssey Coordinator Al Ebron pointed out that Odyssey 2012 will mark the 10-year anniversary of the event.“Plans are underway to set the bar even higher for this year, anticipating 250,000 attendees at 150 events and reaching more than 100 million people through media outlets,” Ebron noted. “In celebration of Odyssey’s long history, the NAFTC is inviting all organizations that have participated in Odyssey to host an event in 2012.”Bentley specifically encouraged all Clean Citiescoalitions and coordinators to engage in Odyssey.“If you haven’t held an Odyssey Day event, you are missing the boat on communicating the basic Clean Cities message,” he said. “Try it, at whatever level you are comfortable with, and I am sure you will see the benefits. Be sure to take full advantage of all the great materials offered by the Odyssey Day event management team.”As in the past, all host site coordinators will receive access to the online Site Coordinator’s Notebook filled with media templates, event ideas, promotional materials and detailed instructions to help with the event planning process.“You are encouraged to tailor your event to meet the local needs of your community while enjoying the national support of the Odyssey Team,” explained NAFTC Odyssey Manager Jenny McMillen. “This includes a nationwide media campaign that showcases all local event sites and Odyssey marketing materials that can be customized for your site event.”Thanks to funding from theU.S. Department of Energy, the NAFTC will again offer $1,000 per traditional site to help offset the cost of conducting an Odyssey event to the first 100 organizations that sign up. In addition, $250 each will be provided to the first 50 secondary school sites to sign up to host an event.“We have been able to show thousands of consumers, fleet managers, governmental officials and others the benefits of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles,” said NAFTC Assistant Director of Communications and National Odyssey Co-Coordinator Judy Moore. “Odyssey has also served as an influence to gain local governmental support for the alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle movement. However, we still have much work to do as we continue on the pathway to energy independence.”The 2010 event significantly surpassed all goals. More than 230,000 people attended 131 events across two countries, and more than 98 million people were reached through media outlets. Once again this event brought together industry leaders, government officials, educational institutions, environmentalists and hundreds of like-minded groups and organizations across the United States and in Canada to further educate the nation on the importance of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.To host an Odyssey event, please visitwww.afvdayodyssey.org/hostand click on Site Coordinator Application. If you have any questions or concerns, contact McMillen atOdyssey Planner@mail.wvu.eduor 304-293-7882.