This item has been filed in | Features, InsideUM
Print This Post Print This Post

Climate-Changing Cafecitos


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...

    By Steve Pierre
    UM Communications

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 29, 2017)—While scientists and researchers across the University tackle the issue of climate change and sustainability every day, one department is making its own impact in this area—one cup of coffee at a time. In August, the Division of Enrollment Management made the permanent switch from paper cups to personal mugs.

    “The custodian for our floor told me that we had a lot of garbage accumulating and I decided to investigate why,” said Michelle Tobon, office assistant with Enrollment Management.

    Shane-Jessica-

    Shane Hinton and Michelle Tobon show off their coffee mugs.

    A closer look revealed the main culprit—paper cups overflowing in the trash receptacles. Tobon knew it was time to act. “When I joined this team, I was encouraged to find cost-efficient ways to help make improvements if possible, and I knew this was a chance to make that happen.”

    Inspired by her father, who conducts eco-tours in the Amazon rainforest and helps indigenous people protect their lands from pollution, Tobon put her love of sustainability to work—compiling statistics and creating messages to get her team on board. “I sent a proposal to my supervisors and they loved the idea of transitioning to reusable mugs and bottles,” Tobon explained.

    Rather than introduce this concept as an office policy, the team created the Bring Your Own Mug (BYOM) Challenge, giving staff the opportunity to share a bit of their personalities and passions through their personal coffee cups. “It was something that was really neat because it also allowed people who didn’t know each other to break the ice by telling the stories of their mugs,” said Tobon.

    Shane Hinton, assistant director of admission who is earning his master of professional sciences in broadcast meteorology at the Rosenstiel School, jumped at the chance to share “something that is near and dear to me.” His enthusiasm and climate-changing mug, which literally changes when heated—sea levels rise and land masses, including Florida, disappear—made him the challenge’s first winner.

    With such initiatives as Green U available to employees, Tobon says the U empowers employees to take the often-simple steps necessary to reduce the U’s impact on the environment. “I think if it was anywhere else, it would have been met with a lot more resistance,” Tobon said of the coffee cup challenge. “It’s such a small thing, but it makes a big impact. I’m glad I work for an organization that inspires and encourages their employees to be green.“

    Click here to see some of the featured mugs from the Enrollment Management team.

     

    Comments are closed.

    UM Facebook

    UM Twitter