Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Profile: Amanda Lee, Clark Student, '09
Reuse-A-Mug

Amanda LeeAmanda Lee takes Clark’s motto of, “challenge convention, change our world,” to heart. During the spring 2007 semester, she was challenged to think of an idea to make Clark’s campus greener and more sustainable as part of her Sustainable University class. With the help of her classmate, Carrie Fisher, they set out to do just that.

Carrie and Amanda developed the Reuse-A-Mug program which is designed to reduce the amount of waste in the campus Bistro. “We were unsatisfied with how much paper was being wasted just from paper cups alone. We wanted to give people incentives to not use paper cups and opt for using something less wasteful, such as reusable ceramic mugs," said Amanda.

After discovering how much energy it took to produce one ceramic mug, the team decided to collect used mugs from students and staff which was more ecologically and economically sound than purchasing new mugs. With the help of the food services and business managers, the Reuse-A-Mug program was launched in Spring 2007. Discounts are given to students who bring in their own mugs or use the ones available in the Bistro when purchasing hot drinks.

Amanda '09, a Global Environmental Studies and International Development & Social Change dual major, was originally inspired to start sustainable, eco-friendly projects at Clark when she took the course Local Action, Global Change. “That course taught me that nearly any problem in the world was present and could be addressed on a local scale. Incidentally, the most local scale for me was Clark's campus." That course led her and a group of students to propose a composting program on campus which has finally been realized two years later with the change in food service vendors on campus.

Amanda feels students ought to take advantage of the entrepreneurship opportunities a college setting presents. “College provides a pretty closed environment in which you can explore and create new ideas, different realities. There are venues students can use to channel their thoughts and people there to listen."

She just completed a year studying abroad in Australia and China doing research on ecology and community development. She looks forward to bringing new knowledge back to the States with her and working on promoting environmental sustainability again. “Each new project I take on gives me hope that positive change can be made by a few people."

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