Stevenson’s Center for Environmental Stewardship (CES) has launched a new campaign designed to encourage members of the SU community to lessen their impact on the environment through the use of refillable water containers.
What began as a student’s idea to eliminate single use drinking straws morphed into a campaign under the direction of faculty member Kimberly Tucker, director of the CES, that has challenged students, staff and faculty to join the “Fill It Forward” challenge.
Sophomore Meagan Burrell and junior Heather Bowie, student coordinators in the CES, explained that the effort is both a year-long campaign for awareness of the plastics problem as well as a semester-long challenge that offers prizes for participants. Students who provide their own refillable water bottles or travel mugs can receive a bar-coded sticker that will enroll them in the challenge. Once they affix the sticker to their container or place it in another easily accessible location, and download the app on a smart phone, they are ready to begin the challenge.
Each time participants fill up a water bottle and scan the barcode with the app, each refill will be tracked. Prizes have already begun to be awarded — including an open-faced cup with the CES logo. — with more still to come, including reusable silicone straws, tote bags, and recyclable bottles with infusers. The challenge, which began the first week of classes, is still open to participants since registration is ongoing.
The challenge will end this semester on Earth Day, April 22, and the overall winner will receive a gift card. Burrell and Bowie declined to reveal the amount of the card, but explained that the campaign will begin again in the fall with a new round of prizes.
The app, “Fill it Forward” by Cupanion, provides a tool that focuses on environmental sustainability. It is user-friendly and includes information about the user’s impact on the environment, since it tracks the number of refills. Burrell and Bowie note that they have found a few glitches with the app, and encourage users to contact them with any others. Details about prizes can be found on the app under “location.”
Bowie said that the campaign hopes to make participants aware that they can actually make a difference in the environmental footprint, even if they can’t see it immediately.
Burrell added that besides making a difference in the environment, the challenge also promotes healthy living, since it encourages participants to stay hydrated once they set reminders through the app.
Those who are interested in joining the challenge can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested participants can follow the CES on Facebook and Instagram for updates and additional information.
Senior Paul Farrell provided additional information for this article.