By Allison Rhodes
The office of Sustainability Management introduced the Cupanion Rewards program this semester to promote waste reduction.
Melissa Greenberg, Rider’s sustainability manager, has had her eye on this project for quite some time.
“I first encountered Cupanion at an Association for the Advancement of Sustainability at a higher education conference two years ago, and it really piqued my interest,” said Greenberg. “It’s a refill program that encourages the decline of single-use, disposable cups on campus.”
College campuses across America are responding enthusiastically to this program and Rider is no exception.
Cupanion Rewards officially launched at Rider during Bronc-a-Palooza on Sept. 4. According to Greenberg, Rider has already saved over 1,067 cups in the weeks following the launch.
Greenberg believes students will enjoy the perks that come with using the program.
“We purchased the cups and tags to be given to Rider students,” she said. “We hope it will help them build new, healthy habits. Of course, the rewards program along with it can serve as another motivator.”
Lexie Reynolds, an office of sustainability graduate assistant, agreed that the rewards program is a nice incentive.
“Who doesn’t like free stuff?” Reynolds said. “One nice perk that comes from reusing is that you can get a small discount at Starbucks. I think this is something our students should be aware of.”
With Cupanion, students now have the opportunity to save up points and earn rewards. They can begin earning points the moment they download the Fill It Forward app, which is available in both the App Store and the Google Play store. According to their website, “The Fill it Forward tag and app turns any reusable bottle into the most empowering smart bottle on the planet.”
Rider students can use their points toward a free refill beverage from any Gourmet Dining location for 1,000 points, or they may cash in a free Cupanion bottle or cup for 2,000 points. Extremely dedicated students can even save up for 50 percent off any Rider Logo item at the campus bookstore if they earn 3,000 points.
“It’s incredibly easy to use,” said Greenberg. “You can track your progress and see what your carbon footprint is. It doesn’t make everyone excited, but I think it’s really cool. There is also a section for people who are interested in fitness and staying hydrated; you can use it to set reminders. One of the places we gave out tags was at the fitness center in the SRC.”
The tags Greenberg referred to are green stickers that can be placed on any reusable cup or water bottle. Once the Fill it Forward app is installed, students can scan the tag with their phone and earn their first 10 points. Scanning the tag each time a bottle is refilled will earn them more points.
Another valuable part of the Cupanion program is its partnership with WaterAid.
WaterAid donates money to water projects around the world, which helps people who are in desperate need of clean drinking water.
Every time a student refills and scans their bottle, money is donated to WaterAid projects. Their current project is providing families in rural Bangladesh with clean water.
Tags are posted near each water refill station on campus, the Moore Library and the bookstore. Greenberg said these stations are instrumental in Rider’s move toward sustainability.
“It’s free, its chilled, its filtered. It is important that people know they can trust the water. Our water is tested and safe. We want our students to feel safe and secure in drinking the water,” Greenberg said.