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Reusable coffee tumbler program promotes environmental awareness

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A free coffee tumbler program that rewards students for environmentally-friendly decision-making began with an idea hatched by three recent USF Sarasota-Manatee MBA graduates.

Carlos Moreira, James Wendland Jr. and Josh Baker were classmates in USFSM’s MBA program last fall when they participated in a Social Entrepreneurship Incubator at New College of Florida to introduce eco+ rewards. The initiative, co-sponsored by USFSM Student Government, encourages students to use USFSM-branded coffee tumblers donated by Tervis, Inc., as a way to reduce the environmental impact created by disposable cups.

On Wednesday, students visited a registration table outside the USFSM café to receive one of the 100 tumblers and learn about a points program, ecoplusrewards.com, that tracks their use. Accumulated points may be redeemed for free items at the café.

“We started with a question—how can we motivate more people to make environmentally friendly decisions every day?” Wendland said. “eco+ was born out of a desire to mobilize the public to create real change by thinking about their daily activities and how they affect the environment. Tracking and quantifying a simple act like using a reusable coffee cup every time you go to a coffee shop can encourage real change.”

Moreira, USFSM’s Veteran Services Administrator, Wendland and Baker all graduated from the MBA program in December. Moreira said the three received “great assistance and support” from USFSM Information Technology Professor Bhuvan Unhelkar, PhD, and Rob Tallini, Brittany Milligan and Kristina Calvin, all recent USFSM MBA grads.

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