1. Action name
Coffee Comunity Project
After observing IES student habits throughout the semester it is quite apparent that students have been put in a position where they have been forced to purchase take-out coffee from places such as Starbucks and Fargghi. The continual purchase of take-out coffee creates a great deal of unnecessary paper and plastic waste. It is this development of habit and lifestyle that contributes further to our society's throwaway mentality and wasteful way of life which in the present condition of earth is an unsustainable method of living. Therefore, it is important for a shift and change in attitude to occur in order to take into consideration the long-term effects of these actions. It is also vital that we reduce our dependency on throwaway materials by replacing them with concrete products that are reusable which in turn reduces our individual ecological footprint and thus our collective global impact on the world.
The proposed plan, in an effort to reduce paper and plastic waste from students that purchase take-out coffee from places such as Starbucks and Fargghi, is to set up a small counter space area on each floor of the building for a Community Coffee space.
Change in Attitudes
Change of attitude is one of the most difficult challenges to overcome because with a shift of mindset is entails a change of lifestyle or habit. Change of attitude is a pivotal and prevalent theme when it comes to moving society toward a more sustainable future. That is, bringing recyclable bags to the grocery store rather than using plastic. Or buying produce at the local farmer's market instead of buying commercial produce. But the nice thing about the Coffee Community Project is the fact that it is convenient and easy for students to make coffee.
Reducing dependency on.../Ecological/Water footprints/Long term effects
It is important that society reduces their dependency on "convenient" throwaway materials such as plastic/paper cups, plastic eating utensil, Styrofoam materials, etc. It is these materials that produce a great deal of unnecessary waste because we only take the short term benefits of convenience into consideration. The coffee community project will take the benefit of convenience in a different direction that is more environmentally sustainable. The project would reduce the overall ecological footprint of IES by taking recognizing the long-term effects that the throwaway mentality will have on the environment.
1.2.1. Potential Benefits
Since we are purchasing a filterless coffee machine, we would not have to buy them and thus further decrease the demand for them. Also the grinds that would be used for this machine would be used towards the IES terrace garden project since coffee grinds have been shown to be a good alternative to other types of fertilizers.
1.2.2. Potential Costs
The type of coffee machine that would be used for this project would purchased across the street from IES at El Corte Ingles which to some extent would practice sustainability by buying the product close to school and therefore not having to have a product shipped to the campus and to also have to pay extra for shipping. The coffee machine that would be bought for the IES community to share would be a Delonghi espresso maker, which is currently on sale for 35.95 euros and makes two cups. There is also an 8 cup model that is available for 52 euros that could purchased instead depending on popularity and also funding of the project. The reason why this one would be purchased is because it uses a filterless system (easy clean up) so filters would not have to be purchased. Also the reason why is because we are in europe and espresso is the more popular hot beverage than american coffee and since staff would be using it as well we have to take that into consideration and so if there are those that perfer american coffee they could use one of the water fountains that are on campus to water down there drink.
A committee of coffee drinking students would be formed for each floor of the building, if necessary depending on the demand. The committee of students would be completely responsible for the coffee station maintenance and for the machine. At the beginning of the semester, an interest meeting would be held to see how many people would participate. The students would pay a starter fee of 5 euros which would be used to purchase a machine which if successful IES will reimburse the student for at the end of the year depending on the success of the project.
Then each student would be allowed to store their own personal mug and coffee in the space provide by IES. This would prevent IES coffee drinking students from buying coffee served in paper cups with plastic lids.
This is a new project and therefore precaution must be taken on every level. There must also be a level of trust that must be developed within the committee of responsible students. One person must be deemed head of the body and people may choose to kick someone out if they are not being respectful of other people's property, in an effort to create an atmosphere where there is no tension among the students participating. In other words, for example, if someone is caught using someone's coffee or mug without permission, the committee may vote to kick her/him out, etc.
Karly Chism, Andreau Cassara and I agreed to sit down with 10 people each throughout the semester and explain the project to them and ask whether they would be interested in participating in the community.Of the 30 people asked, we received 23 positive responses.
Direct quotes from IES students include:
"One of the most difficult things of being here in IES is the fact that throughout the day I have to continually drop several euros a day for a cup of coffee in order to remain productive and awake.The cost adds up."
"I am a coffee addict. I drink 3-5 cups at home and I have really struggled this past semester with not being able to refill my thermos container with the pot of coffee that I made at home."
"I would totally become a member of the community. In fact I would lead all three floors, that is how desperate for caffeine"
The Coffee Community Project proposal was introduced to the student council on Thursday, March 19th by Karley Chism. Ms. Dawn Hiscock showed interest in the idea. As a result, I sent an email to Ms. Hiscock who in turn referred me to Ms. Betsey Tufano. I emailed Ms. Tufano and we set up a meeting with her on Wednesday April 7 at 12:30. Ms. Tufano was kind enough to sit down with Karley Chism and I for one hour as we explained the proposal to her. She recorded our ideas in a notebook and showed genuine interest in the project. We discussed possible modifications to the project as well as the challenges and obstacles involved. She was enthusiastic about the idea, but at the same time discussed the issue of sanitation within the building as well as the potential spills that would occur. As a result, we came to the conclusion that IES would enforce and require the use of closed thermos in order to avoid spills and other accidents. The type of thermos that would be used to replace the original proposed idea of mugs would look something like this: http://www.cleanup.org.au/images/store/thumbs/coffeemug.jpg
Ms. Tufano said that she would highly consider the project in the near future especially if closed thermos containers would be used. She was very supportive of the idea.
1.4. References & Links
1.5. Students involved in this action
Ingrid Lesemann (Leader)
Contributions: Organized information and found and picked out a coffee machine at El Corte Ingles that could be purchased for the project. Also found online that coffee grinds are a good use for fertilizing plants.
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