‘Perk Up’ campaign aims to reduce plastic waste on campus

Perk Up, the new campaign from the Office of Sustainability, is working to reduce plastic waste on the Oswego State campus by promoting the use of reusable coffee cups.

The goal of the campaign is for 500 reusable coffee cups to be given out by the end of the semester. As of March 8, more than 300 had been distributed to students across campus.

Brielle Jodeit, an intern at the Office of Sustainability, said the goal of the campaign is to reduce the amount of plastic waste that goes into landfills.

“We decided to bring [Perk Up] to Oswego because as the Office of Sustainability, we try to focus on a bunch of different sustainable initiatives every semester,” Jodeit said. “We try to focus on different aspects. While recycling is step one of sustainability, it is not all that you can do. We try to find a middle ground of what is feasible for students to actually accomplish on campus that has an impact.”

The campaign started at the beginning of the semester with a week of tabling in the Marano Campus Center, Lake Effect Café and more locations throughout campus to distribute coffee cups and information about the campaign. Jodeit said Alpha Phi Omega members also helped with tabling throughout the week.

“The APO volunteers were super awesome,” Jodeit said. “The 31 volunteers helped out every day and helped make it possible.”

Jodeit said the idea for Perk Up started when their previous campaign, Tap In, was started last semester. Staff from the Office of Sustainability attended a conference where Cupanion was featured and they decided to bring both the app and the campaigns, Perk Up and Tap In, to the Oswego State campus.

“We took the idea of reducing waste and ran with it with the [Tap In] and it was super successful,” Jodeit said. “We decided to go for the other demographic that other schools use with Cupanion and go for the coffee cups.”

Jodeit said it was frustrating at first deciding whether coffee cups were a good idea.

“We knew everyone drinks water or at least that they should,” Jodeit said. “We actually had discussions in the office about how many people truly drink coffee and would use the cups.”

After doing research, Jodeit said the Office of Sustainability found out that more people drink coffee that they originally thought.

Students can receive the free reusable coffee cups around campus when the office of sustainability does tabling or students can go directly to the Office of Sustainability, in 126A Hewitt Union. In order to get a cup, students have to download the app, Cupanion, to their phone. This Canadian app tracks how many times the user refills the cup when they scan.

Through the app, the user is also entered into competitions to win prizes such as t-shirts, bags, free drinks and other items. Jodeit said a student from Oswego State won an Amazon Dot last week.

On Fridays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., students that have the Cupanion app downloaded can also go to the Office of Sustainability for free coffee, hot chocolate or tea.

Oswego State students, like sophomore Manna Job, think that the campaign is a good way to reduce plastic waste.

“It is an innovative and effective way to reduce plastic usage on campus while receiving amazing perks,” Job said.

Sophomore Ryan Cobane agreed with Job and said he thinks it is a great way to educate people on the amount of plastic that is going into landfills every day.

“I never realized that the dining hall coffee cups couldn’t be recycled,” Cobane said. “After getting my reusable coffee cup and water bottle, I have filled them multiple times a day to try to reduce the amount of plastic that I add to landfills every day.”

Cobane said he applauds the Office of Sustainability for kickstarting the initiative to reduce plastic waste on the Oswego State campus.

“I am proud to be on a campus that cares about the world around us,” Cobane said. “Any little bit that we can do to reduce the amount of plastic going into landfills is a success.”