FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2012
Kalamazoo, Mich. – Consumers Credit Union announces a unique partnership with Western Michigan University’s Office for Sustainability as lead partner of its EcoMug™ Program. All incoming students will receive the high-quality, ISO-certified, stainless steel mug, free. Along with WMU’s sustainability logo a QR code is imprinted on the mug offering special discounts for students. The EcoMug™ Program, originally designed by students of WMU professor Dr. Harold Glasser (now Executive Director for Campus Sustainability), encourages students to be earth-friendly while reducing disposable cup use on campus.
The EcoMug™ story began in 2009 with Dr. Glasser’s Appropriate Technologies course at WMU. It was here that the mug was elevated from a small-scale student sustainability class project to a campus-wide initiative. Carrie Susemihl, Design and Project Management Coordinator for Consumers Credit Union, was a student in Dr. Glasser’s class when the mug was devised.
“As a class, we were witness to Dr. Glasser’s commitment to the campus as a living lab, where he drove students to create and execute high-level projects with the potential to impact campus-wide policies and practices,” says Susemihl. “It was particularly exciting when WMU President, John Dunn, attended our final class project presentations, and approved the class’s proposal to distribute an EcoMug™ to every incoming student.” The project soon transitioned to the newly formed Office for Sustainability and is now part of the Wesustain initiatives. After rigorous testing, the current model for the EcoMug™ was chosen.
Roughly 2,500 mugs were distributed in 2011 and 4,000 are ready for distribution this fall. Dr. Glasser adds, “The EcoMug™ Program has many benefits, but the goal is to reduce waste on campus and promote more sustainable behaviors that will hopefully become habit in the campus community and beyond.” The goal of reducing waste with the EcoMug™ consists of three main parts:
1) To inform students about the benefits of reusable mugs while providing incentives for their use.
2) To distribute the EcoMug™ free to new incoming students, transfer students, and any student with a campus meal plan.
3) To provide free filtered water from select drinking fountains around campus that will promote the use of the EcoMug™, reduce the use of bottled water and other disposable cups, and promote drinking water.
Sustainability is not limited to environmental concerns, but also the social and economic issues that impact the health of any community on any scale. As a local financial institution, Consumers is dedicated to the well-being of its membership and community, embracing sustainable values represented by the Wesustain initiatives and WMU. Local presence and keeping members first in the choices it makes are core values for Consumers.
“We’re proud to be the first lead partner in WMU’s EcoMug history. It fits perfectly with our own philosophy and sustainability efforts and the care we provide for our members,” confirms Kit Snyder, President and CEO of Consumers Credit Union.
As one of the first online banking providers in Michigan in 1997, Consumers encourages all members to take advantage of a way of life that engages sustainability as well as technology – conserving both time and the earth’s resources. “We recognized early on that members would desire the convenience of remote banking technology,” continues Snyder. “It also happens that it is good for the earth, saving resources in numerous ways.”
Consumers offers an array of technology services that inspire members to reduce waste and conserve energy, including Online Banking, eStatements and Bill Pay, as well as new mobile banking. Perhaps most important though is the local vision Consumers holds and belief that the community is at the heart of its success.
For more about Consumers Credit Union, visit www.ConsumerCU.org or the credit union’s new mobile site at m.consumerscu.org. Information on WMU’s EcoMug™ Program can be found at http://www.wmich.edu/sustainability/ecomug/history.html.