Kent State Trumbull Partners With Mocha House to Test Environmentally Friendly ProductsPosted April 11, 2011 | Sarah James
A student organization at Kent State University at Trumbull is on a mission to help the environment. Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) recently partnered with the Mocha House, a Warren coffee shop, on a pilot project to test environmentally friendly products.
Susan Emens, associate professor of business management technology and SIFE co-advisor, says the project targeted the coffees shop’s most used product: coffee cups.
SIFE is an international nonprofit student organization, focusing on community outreach. Students work to improve the standard of living for people in need while applying the business concepts they learn in the classroom in everyday life.
The pilot project, funded by a $1,000 sustainability grant through Sam’s Club, aimed to educate small businesses on ways to implement environmentally friendly practices. Ten SIFE students conducted an energy audit with Mocha House owners to determine ways in which the locally owned small business could improve.
Through the partnership, students were able to identify key areas to address: energy use, recyclables and to-go containers.
The Mocha House debuted new environmentally friendly coffee cups on March 3.
SIFE President Darrin Shaulis says the project also aimed to educate consumers on the value of environmentally friendly products.
“An eco-friendly cup will biodegrade in two weeks – it takes 20 years for a paper cup to biodegrade,” he says. “We made the Mocha House’s customers more aware of the importance of recycling.”
To gauge opinions of the new sustainability efforts, SIFE conducted an exit survey to gain customer insight about the new containers. Patrons were asked about their prior knowledge of sustainable business practices and their own recycling habits.
“The pilot program allowed the owners of the Mocha House to get some feedback from their patrons about their perception of their new environmentally sustainable practices,” Emens says.
Enrollment Management and Student Service Advisor and SIFE co-advisor Jacob Roope says the Mocha House plans to move forward with the new environmentally friendly business practices as much as possible.
“The public’s response was impressive,” Roope says. “The Mocha House has seen a rise in customers, particularly from Kent State University at Trumbull.”
Seventy-five percent of respondents said the project motivated and inspired them to integrate sustainable practices in their own lives.
Sustainability Manager Melanie Knowles says the university is working toward sustainability on multiple levels.
“The unique thing about this is that many people across all of the campuses are working on it. This initiative with the Mocha House is an excellent example of people taking leadership roles in implementing sustainability,” Knowles says.
For more information about SIFE, visit its website.
For more information about sustainability at Kent State, visit http://www.kent.edu/sustainability/index.cfm.