Lug-a-mugs in hand, University of Richmond students promote GreenUR’s newest initiative, Kill The Cup Challenge (KTC). 

GreenUR, Greeks Going Green, UR Sustainability Advocates and the Office for Sustainability have brought this competition to campus for the first time this fall. From Oct. 5 through Oct. 30 Richmond will compete against universities, such as Boston University, Columbia University and the University of Michigan, to reduce waste and spread awareness about sustainability. 

The first place trophy is awarded based on a two-prong scoring system. A school must have the greatest percentage reduction of disposable cups, as well as the most participation in Kill The Cup’s free photo-uploading app. The winning school will be awarded a social impact grant that will fund a student-determined sustainability initiative.

Though fall 2014 marked the first year of the Kill The Cup Challenge, the program has already had an impact nationally. Last year over the span of just 20 days, eight universities managed to save approximately 15,440 disposable cups and consequently 1.93 tons in CO2 emissions.

Caroline Jones, co-vice president of GreenUR and student ambassador for Kill The Cup, said she believed each student could make an impact on waste. For example, “If you buy one cup of coffee in a disposable cup every day, you end up creating 23 pounds of trash in a year,” Jones said. 

Students could also feel the significance of their sustainability practices in their wallets. Kill The Cup is offering prizes to those who participate in the challenge. Each week, KTC will award a $25 Amazon gift card to a student, and one student will win an iPad. GreenUR and 8:15 have also teamed up to provide students incentives to reduce waste. GreenUR is raffling $100 gift cards each week from The Richmond Bookstore, The Daily, Ellwood Thompson’s and Uber, all chosen for their locally minded or sustainable practices. 

People can enter GreenUr’s raffle with the purchase of a beverage in a reusable mug or cup from any on-campus dining location and find the Kill The Cup table outside of Boatwright Library through Oct. 30.

Lug-a-Mugs are free for students who have meal plans, and can be picked up at the cash registers in the Heilman Dining Center, Jones said. Contestants also receive a discount for using their own cup, she said, and if you bring it back later and ask for a refill, your second drink is discounted. 

Incentives aside, GreenUR’s greatest hope is that the habits that are established or expanded upon through the competition will continue beyond its close. 

Contact reporter Kate Berger-Acheson at katherine.bergeracheson@richmond.edu