By Frances Saux
Madeline Farr ’18 was on her way to party training when she stopped in Peirce Dining Hall to fill a mug with coffee. Later, sipping her drink at the meeting, she looked at the mug and saw pictures of a girl she recognized. On the mug were various pictures of Anna Libertin ’18, an acquaintance of Farr’s.
“The mug said ‘Count Your Blessings,’” Farr said, “and I was counting my blessings, because this was great.”
Farr later emailed Libertin, who confirmed that she had designed the mug and donated it to Sustain-a-Mugs, a Student Council and Environmental Campus Organization (ECO) program that places donated ceramic mugs in Peirce to reduce consumption of paper cups.
“My plan now is to print a mug with the email that I sent [Anna] and put that in circulation,” Farr said. She did so, and now Farr’s counter-mug is in Peirce circulation.
Often unusual and sometimes silly, the Sustain-a-Mugs has garnered cult-like enthusiasm from some students since they were introduced in mid-November. Every time Devon Chodzin ’19 uses a Sustain-a-Mug, he posts a picture of it to his Twitter account.
He whipped out his phone to show off his favorite mug yet: A brunette woman in a skimpy leotard poses on one side of the cup, while the other side reads “Snap-on Tool Mate Edition 1988.”
“I try to get different ones if I can,” Chodzin said.
Student enthusiasm for Sustain-a-Mugs is a happy by-product of the program’s main goal of increasing sustainable consumption in Peirce, and perhaps has even contributed to the plan’s overall success.
Director of Green Initiatives David Heithaus said that, at its mid-way point, the initiative had saved between 3,000 and 4,000 paper cups. Though the mugs do sometimes disappear, Heithaus said they do not go as quickly as Peirce’s regular cups.
The implementation of the Sustain-A-Mug program represents a greater recent collaboration between different campus bodies and a larger focus on environmental issues in Student Council. Heithaus and his office are new on campus this year; also new is Student Council’s Sustainability representative position that is currently filled by Matt Meyers ’17, who links the organization with ECO, Kenyon’s environmental club. Meyers declined a request for comment.
Student Council and ECO collaborated to launch the initiative. Student Council president Phoebe Roe ’16 placed collection bins in academic buildings to begin the collection and received hundreds of mugs from professors.
Later, students donated. The donation process is simple; all students must do is drop a mug in the Peirce dish return.
ECO member Kay Burrows ’18 says ECO took on the roles of advertising, poster-making, and promoting the program.
Burrows called the program a definite success. “I was probably the most skeptical that it would work,” she said. “During the meeting I said, ‘There’s no way. This is not going to work, everybody is going to take the mugs.’”
She now calls herself Sustain-a-Mug’s number-one fan.