May 5, 2017

The Office of Sustainability is introducing a new initiative for students and employees on campus called Swellness.


What is Swellness?

It’s an idea that relies on the small, everyday decisions of many to produce big results. Swellness combines sustainability and wellness; two actions that are both easy and effective to participate in. Riding your bike to work lowers CO2 emissions that automobiles produce and offers you cardiovascular exercise; that’s Swellness. Taking the stairs instead of an elevator reduces the energy consumption of the elevator and gives you a leg workout! That’s Swellness too.

What are some ways to get involved with Swellness?

  1. Choose, reUse & WIN is a Swellness initiative that was first introduced the fall semester of 2016. Bar code stickers allow individuals to connect reusable water bottles and coffee mugs with their smartphones. These stickers can be purchased for $1 at Gopher Spot, Gopher Express and Goldy’s Gameroom and is compatible with the Cupanion app. Cupanion scans the barcode on the user’s bottle/mug each time they refill and rewards them with 10 points per scan. When 1000 points are reached, the user is rewarded with a $2 food discount at M Dining and campus restaurant locations. Additionally, users are entered in a drawing each time they scan to receive prizes such as a refurbished bicycle or Beats headphones! Choose, reUse & WIN is an excellent example of Swellness. Every time someone uses a non-disposable beverage container, they stay hydrated and they reduce the amount of waste they produce!

  2. In addition to Choose, reUse & WIN, there’s a new initiative to encourage employees to get involved with acts of Swellness. “Walk the Waste/Waist Away” will run from Monday, June 5th to Friday June 9th. Employees can bring their deskside trash and/or recycling bins to a specified centralized collection point. Dump out your trash and recycling into the correct bins and stack your desk-side bins next to the collection point. After doing so, a custodian will take it from there to bring them to a loading dock. That’s it! This is a week-long pilot of the program that will be re-introduced during the fall and spring semesters.

So why do this? Because it has numerous benefits for the participant and the planet. It’s been proven that individuals are more likely to recycle when they bring waste to a centralized location rather than when presented with easily accessible bins. Bringing the receptacles to a specific location makes people more accountable to recycle. This program also works as an advocate for wellness. By taking a short walk from your desk to dispose of the trash and recycling, you are getting in some exercise and you will feel more energized by doing so.


These are easy tasks, but they are very meaningful in the grand scheme of things. By participating in Walk the Waste/Waist Away, you are ensuring that recyclable materials are properly disposed of and you are exercising in the process of doing so. This program acts as a way to remind everyone that we already act in ways that improve the wellbeing of ourselves and the planet, and that it's always possible to do a little more.


You can find other Swellness initiatives and ways to get involved here.


Centralized Collection Point

Example of a centralized collection point.