Radford University Joins Nation-wide Sustainability Initiative


By: Wesley Wallace | wwallace5@radford.edu

Since earlier this semester, Radford University has been participating in a nation-wide sustainability initiative known as Cupanion: Fill it Forward

The program encourages students to use reusable water bottles by awarding points for every water refill. The points can be put towards prizes like reusable water bottles, cups, and mugs. Cupanion says that for every bottle filled, they give water to countries in need. 

Students can participate in the initiative by following three simple steps: 

First, they have to visit the Radford University Sustainability office in Whitt hall to receive their Fill It Forward bar code sticker. 

Second, they have to stick the bar code on their reusable water bottle. 

Third, they have to download Cupanion’s Fill It Forward app to their phone and scan the barcode after they refill their bottle.

Each refill allows a student to track their water consumption while reducing the amount of plastic waste in the environment. The Fill It Forward app also enables students to earn badges and points.

Once a student accumulates 1,000 points, they are automatically eligible for a monthly prize drawing in the Sustainability office.

RU Sustainability tweeted in late September about the fruits of the program’s first month. 


The progress made from the Fill It Forward app also benefits the university’s plan to make the entire campus carbon neutral by 2040.

Josh Nease, Radford’s Sustainability manager, spoke on why Radford decided to get involved with the Fill it Forward campaign by saying, “I first heard about Fill it Forward when I was at a conference for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). I noticed that attendees at the conference we’re participating in the campaign by placing the bar code sticker on their reusable water bottles.”

He continued by saying, “While the attendees and I further explored the Fill it Forward app, Cupanion told us that our use of reusable water bottles, prevented cups and plastic bottles from being disposed in the landfill. I thought that the Fill it Forward campaign was an interesting outreach initiative that would enable students to conserve the environment, monitor their environmental footprint, and become engaged with global water issues.”

According to Cupanion, 1 million people die each year from contaminated water diseases. Out of 844 million people, 1 in 9 lack access to safe water. Furthermore, women and girls who live in countries like Uganda, Mozambique, India, and Pakistan collectively spend two-hundred million hours a day collecting water.

During this year, Cupanion was a supporter of WaterAid’s Deliver Life program in the East African country of Tanzania. The program focused on addressing maternal, newborn, and child mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa.

Since being founded in 2016, Cupanion has given 4,192,320 cups of clean water across the world.

Keep up with more Radford University news through The Tartan.

Photo Credit: (Steve Johnson on Unsplash)