Cups for Campus distributes cups to prevent spread of communicable diseases

March 19, 2015

Cups for Campus, a new initiative that promotes healthy campus lifestyles by preventing the spread of communicable diseases through disposable cups, will launch on March 20 in Red Square.

“In our age, we have this invincibility complex that [diseases are] never going to happen to us, because we’re young, fit, and healthy,” said Cups for Campus President Chantal Durgana (NHS ’17). “Unfortunately these things do happen. I think providing the students with the means to make safe and healthy decisions in their social lives and personal lives is the best to combat that invincibility factor and promote health on campus.”

Durgana and three other classmates developed this initiative from a project in the NHS course “Health Promotion and Prevention” with Professor Jordan Reilly. They sought to develop a program that works to eliminate the harm of alcohol in a university setting. The passing of classmate Andrea Jaime from meningitis last September inspired Durgana to create a program that would reduce the spread of disease by removing a cost barrier.

“In our social culture, we share our cups all the time. That’s a lot of the ways that these things are spread. I looked up the prices of cups online, and they’re really cheap,” said Durgana.

The cups will be distributed every Friday that school is in session. The expected end date is April 24th, but Cups for Campus may continue its cup distribution during finals week depending on tools and funding, according to Durgana. Each student can come to the table, put down his/her NetID, and get his or her hand stamped for a pack of 50 cups.

With only two more months of school left, Cups for Campus will use funding from the pilot program budget the members presented to Health Education Services. After seeing the results of the itemized budget and surveys from students, Cups for Campus plans to give another presentation to Health Education Services to acquire further funding for the next academic year.

The initiative’s current funding is approximately for $1,300 March to April. “The cups are a monthly expense, but we bought the marketing tools for the whole year, including stickers, stamps, and flyers. The cups amount to about $1,100 just for this month,” said Durgana.

Moreover, Cups for Cups took caution to avoid potential misapplications of its initiative on campus. “We don’t want to make it seem like we’re advocating a raging party culture, but we’re trying to insert ourselves into the existing culture to help students make healthy and safe decisions. To keep that in mind, we have these quarter sheets which outline our mission, and safe drinking tips and safe partying tips. The cups that we’re handing out have lines on them to indicate one ounce of liquor, five ounces of wine, and twelve ounces of beer.”

GUSA Director of Sustainability Caroline James responded to the implications of the initiative’s  distribution of plastic cups on campus. “It’s a pretty classic tradeoff that is often created by the fact that hygiene, sanitation, and safety often come into conflict with sustainability. That’s not to say that one’s more important than the other. I admire the initiative.” said James. “One thing that I hope will come out of this is that since these cups are recyclable in Georgetown recycling stream that people [recycle] them instead of throwing the cups in the trash. I would also encourage people to just be aware of the number of cups they’re using and try to keep it to one per person.”

“We haven’t heard anything or reached out to GUSA, but we did factor into our marketing and budget plan when we were first designing the program to give out trash bag to every student that picked up cups from us” Durgana said. “We haven’t been able to do that for this program, but we’re hoping to do that for the next academic year.”

Cups for Campus are looking to give out around 5,000 cups this weekend alone. Director of Operations and Assistant Director of Communications of Cups for Campus Rachel Skonecki (NHS ‘17) said, “I am hopeful that the Georgetown community will soon come to appreciate this initiative as a means to take more personal responsibility for their health.”

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