Whether at a tailgate or a party, red plastic cups are ubiquitous around UCF. Now they can be reused to help other Florida creatures have a good time.
Starting Sept. 1, Volunteer UCF's Animal Awareness and Environmental programs will be accepting No. 6 plastic rigid cups in an effort to help sea turtles.
For every cup that is brought to the Volunteer UCF cubicle, TerraCycle will donate 2 cents to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. The cubicle is located in the Office of Student Involvement room 208 on the second floor of the Student Union.
"The TerraCycle program is a great way to get involved," said Becca Gelwicks, the Membership Coordinator for the STC. "People looking to get involved who maybe don't have the financial means at the moment or really want to do something more hands-on [will find] this is a great way to get involved with STC."
Daniel Kleiman, Director of Animal Awareness at Volunteer UCF, contacted Gelwicks seeking information about how UCF students can help the struggling sea turtle population. Gelwicks directed him to the TerraCycle program, which offers students a way to help without compromising the sensitive habitats in which sea turtles reside.
"One of my VUCF goals for the 2014-15 academic year is to work with endangered animals. Sea turtles came to mind because I have always had a passion for them and their habitat is in our backyard," Kleiman said in an email.
The "Cups for Coins" project is a joint effort between Kleiman and Environmental Director Vy Nguyen, both of whom will be putting up fliers later in the week.
"This effort is isn't just mainly for raising money — it's also to just raise awareness," Nguyen said.
In addition to recycling, students may also donate directly to the STC through its website. The donations will help a variety of its conservation efforts, including tagging and research in Tortuguero, Costa Rica and several areas in Panama, as well as work in Florida and Bermuda.
The STC, founded in 1959, is the world's oldest sea turtle conversation group. Its mission is to "spread the word on conservation efforts and save sea turtles and the habitats on which they rely," Gelwicks said.
As of now, the Office of Student Involvement is the only place where students can donate plastic cups, but Kleiman and Nguyen are looking into expanding drop-off locations.
"We're looking toward putting bins around campus so people will have multiple drop off locations. Maybe [we will put] a couple of recycling bins in the Union around the food court, because whenever people have water cups those are usually No. 6 cups," Kleiman said.
The Cups for Coins program will run throughout the fall semester — however, depending upon its success, it may continue on throughout the spring.