Month: October 2018


Educational Program of the Month
Sustainably Caffeinated

School: Gonzaga University Region: PACURH
Person in charge: Maddie Blackburn Nominator: Emily Reid

Target Population: Time Needed to Organize: 2 weeks
Number of People in Attendance: 250 Date(s) of Program: 10/02/2018
Number of People Needed to Organize: 1-3 Cost of Program:
On-Campus Population: 2900 Chapter Size: 29

Origin of Program:

The Director of Advocacy and Sustainability of the Residence Hall Association coordinated a multi- day event titled Sustainably Caffeinated, on October 3rd and 4th, in partnership with a local, fair- trade coffee roastery. This program targeted k-cup and coffee consumers to educated them on the waste produced by k-cups and providing sustainable alternatives. Additionally, she also provided resources describing the concept of fair trade, specifically in the context of coffee production. Coffee is a common beverage among university students, but Keurig’s are especially popular among this demographic as it provides a quick, easy single serving of coffee that is ideal for a student on the go. K-cups, a single-serve brewing pod, are not recyclable nor biodegradable, unless a person is willing to disassemble the cup into the plastic, paper, and metal components. Similarly, the cups are made from plastic #7, which is a plastic mix that only a handful of cities can recycle. Thus, the majority of K-cups inevitably end up in landfills. As a result, in 2014, the waste produced from K-cups was so vast that if they were to be placed end to end, the waste could circle the globe over 12 times.

Word Count: 194

Please give a short description of the program:

Sustainably Caffeinated was done in the form of tabling in our student center, Hemmingson Center, right in between the campus Starbucks and cafeteria because it is a very high traffic area. Tabling was done during peak traffic hours (lunch hours) and consisted of two tables. On one table, the Director of Advocacy and Sustainability provided educational flyers and informational graphics that describes the environmental impacts of K-Cups specifically, and more broadly, the environmental impacts of coffee. Furthermore, to encourage an alternative to K-cups, colorful reusable K-cups were handed at the table. These were extremely popular and were all handed out by the end of the event. Moreover, there were also resources provided detailing the difference between conventional and fair-trade coffee as well as their impact. For example, farmers of conventional coffee often expose the crop to pesticides to produce mass amounts of their crop to meet demand; however, these practices often result in a loss of biodiversity and dangerous working conditions. Moreover, these conventional farmers sell their coffee at a fraction of their true worth and thus receive less than 12% of the finished cost product. Conversely, fair trade coffee ensures a minimum selling point and incentives for organic practices, which thus allow farmers to produce a profit to support their families and protect the environment. To illustrate the benefits of these fair-trade practices, Sustainably Caffeinated partnered with a local roastery named Roast House, which provides organic, fair-trade coffee. A representative was present during the event who could provide further information on fair-trade practices. Moreover, they provided free samples of their popular medium roast, nitrogen infused F-Bomb cold brew. In addition to the free K-Cups, this provided a delicious incentive to draw students in and engage them in a conversation while the sample was being made and served.

Word Count: 298

Goals of the program:

The purpose of this event was to educate students of the impact of coffee and K-cups on the environment as well as distinguish the difference between conventional coffee and fair-trade coffee and their associated implications on the environment and the lives of farmers. In addition, the event aimed to give students not only the knowledge surrounding these issues, but also tools and suggestions on what they can do with this information. Drinking coffee is a daily habit many students engage in, so by giving students these resources, the event hoped to create more conscious consumers (literally) of coffee. Furthermore, the event hoped that students would transfer this knowledge to other aspects of their life, for example purchasing other fair- trade products.

Word Count: 120

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

This is the second year this event has been put on and many students were excited to see the event happen again. Several times students would excitedly bring their friends to the table and encourage their friends to take a K-Cup and try the samples. Peer education is one of the most effective methods of education and it was amazing to see students pass along information to their friends. Since the event, I’ve noticed a lot of students with the reusable K-cups in their rooms. Not only are these K-Cups being used to brew coffee, but many students have also been placing loose leaf tea within the K-Cups, further demonstrating their popularity. Similarly, both years Sustainably Caffeinated has partnered with Roast House and this has begun establishing a community connection between Gonzaga and Roast House. Roast House and Gonzaga University are only a couple blocks apart, well within walking distance, so the event has also unintentionally encouraged students to being engaging with their local community and explore the hidden gems of Spokane, WA.

Word Count: 173

Short evaluation of the program:

The program was extremely popular on both days of tabling. K-Cups were rationed between days to make sure there was enough for the whole program, but the tables still ran out of the K- Cups each day well before the end of the tabling session. Similarly, Roast House ran out of samples before the event due to the popularity of the cold brew. The primary feedback was to table at other times and/or locations to reach different parts of the student body since underclassmen and the primary occupants of the student center. Moreover, it would’ve been interesting to see how the event would have gone earlier in the morning while people were waiting in line for their morning coffee at Starbucks. Overall, the event was very successful, and the Residence Hall Association will be encouraging future Directors of Advocacy and Sustainability to continue this event.

Word Count: 144

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

This event could be easily adapted onto other campuses as K-Cups and Keurig’s are extremely popular among all university students, regardless of location. Other schools could also choose to focus more on the fair-trade aspect of the event since fair-trade practices exist outside the coffee industry. For example, this information could be transferred to orientation t-shirts as many schools provide them to their first-year students. Moreover, Roast House is not in every city, but seeking any local fair-trade company could also work. The biggest limitation is purchasing the reusable K-Cups since they can be pricey and budgets among Housing Offices vary, but schools could still advertise for other alternatives, such as making coffee with a traditional coffee maker, French press, etc. and purchasing larger bags of coffee instead of single serving pods.

Word Count: 132

Date of entry into database: 2018-11-07 16:00:49

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