A Proposal to Save the World; One Cup of Coffee at a Time

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Tucked within students’ UAA billing statements lies the “Green Fee,” a $3 fee that goes into a larger pool of money set aside specifically for projects that promote sustainability on campus. The Green Fee grant was founded by the students for the students to implement sustainability how they please.

“It all comes down to us as students,” said USUAA Senator Devin Johnson.

Johnson is waiting to hear back about a Green Fee proposal he brought before USUAA student government.

“It all started when I was at Kaladi’s (in the SSB) and noticed one of the trash cans was overflowing with coffee cups,” Johnson said. As he waited in line a student in front of him had a reusable mug and asked for a reusable cup discount.

“I had no idea that was even offered,” Johnson said.

The idea for his initial proposal stemmed from this experience.

Johnson wants to raise awareness about this discount while lowering the amount of paper cup waste. He went online and found the steps to complete a Green Fee proposal. With the help of his faculty adviser, Nelta Edwards, and the UAA Sustainability Club, Johnson created a proposal.

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Johnson’s Green Fee grant, should his proposal be accepted, will go toward funding reusable coffee mugs with a sustainability logo. He intends these mugs to be offered for free on campus. Johnson and the Sustainability Club will volunteer to distribute the products once a week in various locations on campus.

Recipients of the free mugs will be asked to fill out a short survey, which will enable them to win prizes. These prizes will act as incentives and may include free coffee or UAA Bookstore gift cards.

Johnson said the purpose of the project is to “cut down waste on campus, get rid of the full trash cans, save students’ money with the discount and promote the Green Fee.”

Johnson is anxiously awaiting the results of his proposal, which he said will be released “hopefully soon.”

Those who already have reusable mugs are eligble for coffee discounts both on and off campus. Bringing a reusable cup saves customers 10 cents per coffee at the campus Kaladi Brothers locations. This adds up to $18 of yearly savings for those who order one cup of coffee five days a week.

At the Student Union Station, a reusable mug will save customers 10 percent of the cost on each drink. The station also offers $1 drip coffee.

The UAA Perk at the University Center offers a 25-cent discount on drinks ordered with reusable cups, as well as $0.50 refills on drip coffee.

But even when money is tight, there are other options. Those who live on campus can take advantage of coffee every morning at the Gorsuch Commons. Johnson also shared his “secret gem” of free coffee on campus: “If you visit the Multicultural Center in Rasmuson Hall you’ll find free coffee there every day, all day. … Hang out there for a while, and you’ll meet some really nice people there too.”

For more information about the Green Fee and how to contribute your own proposals visit http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/greenfee/index.cfm.