Students propose mug share on campus

FROM LEFT: Bonnie Klohn, Jeff Hicks and Kaitlyn Boyd toast to the success of their mug sharing idea, which they entered in the TD Bank Friends of the Environment Foundation Video contest. PHOTO BY COLEMAN MOLNAR

Coleman Molnar: Editor-In-Chief Ω

In November of 2010, Thompson Rivers University Food Services sold over 22,700 disposable hot-beverage cups to students and staff on campus.

Students Bonnie Klohn, Jeff Hicks and Kaitlin Boyd are looking to change this and make their campus a little more sustainable by putting a new twist on an old idea—sharing.

“We were looking for something that was creative—that was the main goal—something that had not been done before,” Hicks, an economics student, said.

He found out about the video contest, a TD Bank Friends of the Environment Foundation initiative. It offers a first prize of $100,000 to the winning campus and $20,000 to the creators of the winning video.

The videos will be judged on the level of the sustainability challenge facing the school and the originality, uniqueness and practicality of the proposed solution.

“We want to install stations next to every vendor that sells hot beverages and at the station there will be a conveyor belt dishwasher and some sort of storage facility so people can come to this station, put their dirty mug down and through the dishwasher and they can grab a clean mug that’s been put through—then they can buy their coffee.”

Hicks recruited Klohn and Boyd—two other green-minded students—and the three brainstormed to create the idea of a mug share on campus. Klohn says reusable mugs are already in place, but still fewer than six per cent of people use them.

“If reusable mugs weren’t working, stores would stop selling them. And they’re not, they’re selling a lot of them,”said Klohn.

Klohn said she thought it would be a good idea to do something more immediate, where students and staff could simply access a mug at the point of purchase. The mug share would work much like bike shares in some bigger cities, said Klohn.

TRU’s Food Services supplier Aramark is on board with the idea, agreeing to maintain the dishwasher up to the health inspector’s standards, if the video is chosen as a winner.

“You’re not going to be able to stop people from drinking coffee. Everyone wants coffee,” Gerard Hayes, director of ancillary services at TRU, said.

Mugs would be gathered during a “mug drive” if the initiative is given the financial go ahead.

“I always leave my mug at home,” said Hayes.

“If I had that, it would be easy—convenient and easy. I’d go over to Starbucks, ‘oh, I like that mug.’ So I’d grab a coffee and take it back to my office.”

The contest judges are currently picking the three winning schools, but students can vote for their favourite videos for the people’s choice award of $2,500 online at

One Response

  1. Love of Eating Mar. 6, 2011