IES Environmentally Friendly Welcome Kit (John)

1.1. What

The goal of this action is to seek funding directly from IES or somehow raise tuition to pay for an environmentally friendly welcome kit for students when they first arrive in Spain. The contents of the kit would include a recycled bag, a reusable water bottle, and literature on any IES sustainability projects that wish to be included. The bag itself could either be a drawstring bag that students bring to school or to the gym, or it could be a reusable shopping bag students use during their time in Spain. The welcome kit would present an opportunity for other sustainability projects from this semester to include whatever they like in the kit such as a bike rental sign-up/deposit form and information about greener energy from sources such as the solar council. The ultimate goal of this project is to convince IES to start giving out environmentally friendly welcome kits by next fall, if not by spring semester.

1.1.1. Similar actions from previous semesters

While none of the actions in previous semesters are overly similar to this one, past projects have similar ideas to certain contents of the welcome kit. For example, reusable water bottles have been suggested before as well as a rental bike program. With the welcome kit we are seeking to accomplish the same goals as set out by these previous actions, but we want to do so in an appealing and practical way that will reach every student.
Reusable Bottle Action
Bike Rental Action Page

1.1.2. SWOT Analysis


  • Pleasant gift for IES students upon arrival
  • Making all students at IES environmentally more aware
  • Give students new bag to use-either drawstring bag for school/gym or a new reusable shopping bag
  • Save students potentially hundreds of dollars on plastic water bottles every day


  • Very expensive-either for students or for IES
  • Although encouraging sustainability, purchasing the kits is just further consumption and encourages the myth we need more things


  • Assisting in facilitating the cheaper and more environmentally friendly means of transportation of bicycles
  • Educating students on sustainability, perhaps instigate a change of habits for the semester or even longer term


  • Students may be uninterested in bag or any items in kit-don’t actually use them
  • IES may not see such a welcoming gift as necessary

1.1.3. Feedback loops

Reinforcing feedback loops would be created as a result of this proposal. One of the most important of these loops that would most interest IES would be its advertising loop that would get more students to apply. Below is an explanation of this loop.

IES Advertising Balancing Feedback Loop

  1. New students receive sustainability welcome kit
  2. Students use the contents of the kit, including the eco-friendly bag and the reusable water bottle
  3. Students begin to change their habits, bring items in kit back to the United States
  4. When students use their welcome kits in the United States, other students see them and find out about IES
  5. New students who find out about IES from the bag and water bottle apply to IES
  6. New students now apply and attend IES and receive the welcome kit
  7. New students receive sustainability welcome kit

1.1.4. Advertising

Advertising for this kit would not be necessary, as this proposal advocates providing the entire student body of IES with a welcome kit. In fact, if the proposal were implemented, the kit would serve as a tool of advertisement for sustainability in itself. As mentioned above, two other actions relating to sustainability would include literature in the kit-the bicycle rental proposal and the solar energy council. Both the bicycle rental program and the solar energy council are proposed actions for this semester that could be advertised to incoming students through the welcome kit. For the bicycle rental proposal, information about the program and form to sign up for it would be included. Not only would this advertisement be positive for the bike program, but it would also be positive for IES when taking into account the potential new customers as a result. If a printed form and deposit slip were included in the kit to turn in at IES, students may be more likely to sign up.

Other information about sustainability could be included in the kit as well. The solar energy council, if created, would include some of its literature in the welcome kit as well. Other sorts of information regarding sustainability could be included as well. Some possibilities/suggestions could include a list of green activities, places, or means of transportation in Barcelona readily available for students.

Another aspect of advertising that must be considered in this proposal is the potential advertising that can be done on behalf of IES. Some of the items being proposed are custom, long-term items that can be kept such as the bag and water bottle. Those students who still have and are using these items at the end of the semester will be able to take them home and potentially continue using these items in the United States. Other students would see and begin hearing more about IES than they otherwise would have. This could produce more applications and students for IES, and in the long-term greater competitiveness and/or profitability.

1.2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

1.2.1. Potential Benefits

-Long-Term Benefits

  • Change the attitude and habits of IES students for the semester and potentially even long-term
  • Greater advertisement for IES-students continue to use reusable bottle, bag, etc. in the United States and further advertise IES

-Reusable Water Bottle

  • Reduce number of plastic bottles purchased
  • Save students hundreds of dollars on water otherwise purchased (If students spend $1 on water/day while attending IES, they will save at least $100 during their 3.5 months in Barcelona)

-Bicycle Rental Program Benefits

  • Lower traffic and Co2 emissions from public transport
  • Good form of exercise

-Education on Sustainability

  • Educate students, both those interested and those less aware of it, on sustainability
  • Help advertise for other sustainability proposals from the semester and others going forward

1.2.2. Potential Costs

  • Financial burden for either students, IES, or both to initially purchase the kit and the required items (approximately $800, given quotes from Factory Direct Promos: $702.50 for 250 bottles and bags+$100 start-up fee=$802.50)
  • Injuries while riding bicycles
  • Stolen or damaged bicycles requiring repair

1.3 How this action makes things more sustainable?

1.3.1. Cradle to Cradle design

This proposal has somewhat of a cradle to cradle design in that it focuses on only using recycled or reusable products. The bag would be an eco-friendly one that has been made out of recyclable materials. If the bag were to be a reusable shopping bag, then students could continue to use this bag throughout the semester and even longer while cutting down on their plastic bag consumption. The water bottle, whether made out of recycled materials or not, is a far more cradle to cradle design when compared to the cradle to grave design of purchasing plastic water bottles every day.

The only non-recycling aspect of the kit would be the paper to be included in it meant to promote more sustainable ways of living. This paper when students are done will maybe get recycled but most likely will be thrown out in the trash. Another way to keep this action cradle to cradle would be to print important information, maps, or pictures that students will want to keep for their time abroad and maybe even take home as a souvenir.

1.3.2. Questions for the unified survey

Question Do you currently own a reusable water bottle?
Answers Not Answered-25%, Yes-50%, No-25%

1.3.3. Analysis of the results in the survey

Sadly only 16 people answered the survey, and only 12 of those people answered the question about owning a reusable water bottle. That being said, 8 of those people said that they already had reusable water bottles. Those numbers may be somewhat discouraging whether IES students actually need water bottles, but we are confident that a further survey of IES students would show that more students do not have a reusable water bottle, specifically not here in Spain.

1.3.4. Incentives

There are many incentives for IES to consider this proposal, particularly when considering how many elements of sustainability it combines. In terms of recycling, the eco-friendly bag would be a positive way to recycle. Depending on what kind of bag was purchased, it could either give students a new drawstring bag to use when going to school/the gym or it could give them a reusable bag to use when shopping. A reusable shopping bag along with a reusable water bottle would significantly reduce the amount of plastic consumed per student. The potential of spreading the word about programs such as the newly developing bicycle program would be helping promote greener, cheaper, and more efficient means of transportation of students. Finally, despite cost, there are financial incentives for both IES and the students as well. Students, if willing to use the kit, would be able to save themselves money on a couple things such as transportation and water bottles. For IES, the potential for advertisement in the form of custom-made bags and water bottles could generate more applications for the program. This would increase IES's competitiveness as a program and perhaps even bring in more tuition-paying students.

1.3.5. Relationship with the Sustainability Club (SC)

There currently is no active Sustainability Club at IES. That being said, this welcome kit would be a great way to get people educated on the club and potentially draw in members.

1.3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

If someone in the administration was willing to take on implementing the welcome kit, we have no doubt that this administrator would be willing to continue the program every semester (given its successful). One way to test its success would be to get feedback from students by surveying them at the end of the semester about the welcome kit and if they used it. Survey questions could include:

1. Did you like receiving an IES welcome kit?
2. Did you use or find helpful the items in the welcome kit?
3. Which items do you still have or did you use most from the welcome kit?
4. Would you say that students in the future would appreciate receiving the same welcome kit upon arrival in Barcelona?

We are confident that if an administrator is willing to implement such a program the first time, positive feedback on the kit would be more than incentive enough to continue providing such kits for students. Although it was too difficult to attain such funding so quickly prior to the spring semester, enough steps have been taken and recorded to make getting this project off the ground quickly next semester possible. All of the steps have been outlined in order to implement this action (if funding can be found) next spring in order to supply the Class of Fall 2013 with environmentally-friendly welcome kits. I have sent an email to Cesar with all the necessary information about the proposal in case the school is serious in considering implementing such a proposal.

1.3.7. Who will do what

According to the quotes provided by Factory Direct Promos, the administration would have to support funding $800, raise tuition about $5 per student, or find a medium between both (in order to supply a student body with an ample supply of extras for one semester). If such funding were approved, we would seek out an IES administrator who would be willing to assist in organizing and creating these welcome kits. Part of the proposal includes a final quote and potential shipping date for those items required for the kit. Assuming there is an administrator is out there willing to help, their job would include receiving shipments at IES for the kit and placing all of the items individually in the bag.

1.3.8. Comparison to similar actions from previous semesters

A direct comparison of this proposal with actions from previous semesters is difficult in that it is a fairly unique proposal that combines several actions already endeavored. It is similar to the bicycle rental and reusable water bottle proposals in that it wishes to encourage that same type of green behavior. One of its most unique aspects are, however, is its aim at customization and advertisement for IES. Additionally, another aspect of design similar to some actions but not as explicitly acknowledged in other proposals is the goal to educate. Eco-friendly items along with literature on sustainability for every student would be very educational and would reach both students who are interested as well as students who are less educated on the subject.

1.3.9. Document format


1.4. Time-sheet / Chronogram

11/16-Quotes requested for potential bags/bottles from Factorydirectpromos.com

11/19-Received quotes from Factory Direct Promos


1.6. Annexes

Potential Drawstring Bag

Price Quote Table for Bag sent by Factory Direct Promos

Potential Water Bottle

Price Quote Table for Bottle sent by Factory Direct Promos

Follow-Up Email from Factory Direct Promos

Email to Cesar

Added by the professor upon request by John McCoy for future students:

---- Forwarded message ----
From: Cesar Alegre
Date: Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 2:10 PM
Subject: Re: IES Welcome Kits
To: John McCoy '14

Dear John,

I think it is a great initiative.Please send me your contact on this project so I can forward them for further consideration. I appreciate you working on this project!


Cèsar Alegre, Ph.D.
Center Director and Dean of Spanish
IES Abroad (Institute for the International Education of Students)
Ronda Sant Pere, 5, Barcelona, 08010, Spain
Tel.: +34 93 342 7744
Fax: +34 93 302 4557
www.IESabroad.org | blogs.iesabroad.org

your world [redefined]
Since 1950, IES Abroad has been offering study abroad programs that redefine how students view the world. A global not-for-profit educational organization, IES Abroad offers programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and South America.

On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 10:59 PM, John McCoy '14 wrote:

Hi Cesar,

I have been working on a proposal for IES in my sustainability course
all semester. Below I have posted a link to the project that outlines
the details of my proposal. The project proposes IES funding a
welcome kit for students to receive when they arrive in Barcelona.
The pros and cons of implementing such a program are listed. While I
did not expect funding for such a project to be available on such
short notice for incoming Spring '13 students, I thought I would
provide you with the research and information I gathered already for
potential future use.

I am emailing you with such information mostly because I truly think
such a program would greatly benefit IES, not only in terms of
sustainability. If implemented, such an idea could greatly benefit
IES financially as well as competitively as an abroad program. If you
have the time, please read the information I have put together on this
wiki page. I have received actual quotes and emails from companies
regarding the pricing of what the kit would cost. I included most of
that information on that page and would be happy to forward any other
useful information if you are interested. Thanks in advance for any
time or consideration you can give to my proposal, I promise it is
worth your time.

With Gratitude,
John McCoy


1.7. Students involved in this action

Project by John McCoy
Associated Projects and Contributors-Kevin Mahoney, Danny Karson, Mick Moran

Page last modified on Wednesday 19 of December, 2012 12:46:08