Julian’s Café in Robert E. Kennedy Library implemented a loyalty program to address sustainability issues on campus. 

The SLOstainable Loyalty Program includes a Julian’s loyalty card that awards users a free beverage for purchasing 10 drinks using a reusable cup. Customers also receive a coupon for 20 percent off the purchase of a Julian’s-branded mug or tumbler when they sign up for the program. 

The program was originally developed by students Camryn Monticello, Allie Jones, Emma Mabe, Daniel Prieto and Spencer Egbert as a part of their Small Group Communication (COMS 217) class. The students said they saw an issue surrounding sustainability on campus and wanted their project to address it.

“We knew that reusable cups and bottles were already very popular with the student population, but we didn’t see that popularity represented in any dining institutions on campus,” Mabe said.

The group practiced using reusable water bottles and containers as their way of being sustainable and said they wanted to encourage others to do the same to create a more environmentally aware campus.

Video by Leanna Newby

The students proposed the idea to Campus Dining Assistant Director Russell Monteath who said he saw great value in their idea and decided to bring it to life. 

“I think this loyalty program is a great way to not only provide a good deal to customers, but to also further Campus Dining’s ongoing effort to increase sustainable practices on our campus,” Monteath said. 

Campus Dining hosted a “Food for Thought” Open Forum to discuss sustainable practices on campus with students. The event was a collaboration between Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), Inter Housing Council (IHC) and Campus Dining. 

When students brought up that reusable dishware is only available at 805 Kitchen, registered dietician Kaitlin Gibbons said 805 Kitchen is the only facility with the proper space for cleaning and maintaining these dishes. Given that the dishwashers on campus function more than 20 hours a day and are only available in 805 Kitchen, it is unfeasible to use reusable dishware across campus at the moment, Gibbons said. 

“The issue is not a lack of trying [on Campus Dining’s part],” Monteath said. “Zero waste is something the staff and the students have been collaborating on for improvement.”

With the implementation of reusable dishware at 805 Kitchen, paper straws in place of plastic at various food facilities, and composting efforts throughout Campus Dining facilities, things are slowly progressing, Monteath said. The rewards program is just another step in a more sustainable direction. 

“I think that having other on-campus dining areas adopt sustainable practices and programs is something that Cal Poly should strive for in the upcoming years,” Mabe said. “With Julian’s being the first on-campus dining service to implement this sustainability program, I think that this opens the door for other services to follow suit.”

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