University of Guelph Metal for Movement : Project Impact Report
The UofG Metal for Movement project was launched in January 2023 with the aim of making a positive impact on the community. This innovative initiative involves the collection of pop tabs on the UofG campus through various sources, contributing to a worthy cause. The collected pop tabs are donated to the Canadian Legion, who then sells them for scrap and utilizes the proceeds to purchase wheelchairs for individuals with disabilities. To encourage widespread participation, pop can tab collection jars have been strategically placed in various areas across the campus, including each residence and dining hall. These jars not only serve as collection points but also feature thought-provoking questions that engage students in a unique way. By simply dropping a pop tab into the jar corresponding to their choice, students can vote on different topics. For example, one question could be as light-hearted as "cats or dogs?" The interactive donation process creates a fun and engaging atmosphere for students, fostering a sense of community and inspiring them to contribute even more. In addition to the collection jars, another eye-catching collection site can be found at the University Centre. Here, a rain barrel designed to resemble a giant pop can serves as a creative and attention-grabbing collection box. The exterior of the can is meticulously crafted to resemble a Canada Dry can, made with modifications to display the logo and information representing the UofG ESW chapter. This innovative design not only draws attention to the pop-tab collection initiative but also serves as a visual representation of the club's involvement. Furthermore, arcade-style collection boxes, such as Plinko and Pinball, are being designed to provide an interactive drop-off process for students, adding an element of fun to the donation experience. To further enhance student engagement, technology is being leveraged through the use of QR codes and sensors. When students participate in the pop-tab collection, their contributions are logged virtually. This virtual platform not only tracks their involvement but also converts the pop-tab collection into virtual points that can be redeemed for exciting prizes. By combining the physical act of donating pop tabs with a digital rewards system, students are incentivized to donate more and actively participate in the initiative. Overall, the UofG Metal for Movement project not only aims to collect pop tabs but also strives to create an inclusive and interactive experience for students. By combining elements of fun, engagement, and technology, the project successfully encourages students to contribute their pop tabs, supporting a worthy cause while fostering a sense of community and social responsibility on the UofG campus.
Project Plan & Evaluation
The overall assessment for the Metal for Movement project has been incredibly positive. The presence of collection boxes on campus has generated significant interest among students, resulting in a remarkable influx of donations. The enthusiastic response from the students at UofG has been very impressive, with numerous contributions pouring in since the project's start-up. When students spot a collection box strategically placed in various locations on campus, their curiosity is piqued, and they feel a sense of purpose in actively participating. The visually appealing design of the collection boxes, whether it be the simple collection jars or the attention-grabbing rain barrel resembling a giant pop can, captivates students and sparks their interest. The boxes serve as tangible reminders of the project's mission and the impact their contributions can make. Witnessing the collection boxes in prominent areas such as residence halls and dining halls not only increases their visibility but also instills a sense of community among students. Regarding the amount of pop tabs collected, our team firmly believes that we have the potential to collect an even greater quantity through improved marketing strategies. While the current collection boxes have been effective in generating donations, we recognize that a well-executed marketing plan can significantly enhance our outreach efforts and ultimately lead to a substantial increase in the number of pop tabs collected for charity.
Lessons Learned There were multiple lessons learned throughout our Metal for Movement project. One of the biggest lessons is to be aware of how many hours your team is willing and able to put into a project every semester and to not bite off more than you can chew. We learned this the hard way by setting an ambitious target of five boxes being made over the course of two semesters. This didn’t seem like much at the time but after considering how consistently members showed up and that an hour-long meeting usually only resulted in thirty minutes of work being done, we quickly realized that this target would not be met. After talking to other chapter leaders, we learned the best way to make progress on a project was to make sub-teams and leave it up to these teams to complete their parts in their own time outside of meetings. It sounds like a bad idea, but it works really well if your members are motivated to work on the project. This leads me to my next lesson. Only work on projects that your members are SUPER excited for. If you do not do this, you will make very little progress and end up with poorer meeting turnouts. After all, clubs are volunteer groups, and you can’t force people to come to every meeting, so you need to instead bribe them in whatever ways possible to get them to come out and the best way to do this is to give them projects that they REALLY want to work on (and food if that doesn’t work…lol). Sometimes you have to try out a project to figure out what your members really like but even if it fails, as long as you listened to your members about what aspects they liked and didn’t like, you can incorporate this into projects for years to come and will end up much more successful. The third and final lesson is to communicate your plans thoroughly and frequently. The key to success is making your members aware of the deadlines that you are trying to meet and updating them frequently. This way members know well before a meeting what supplies they will need and what needs to be done by the next meeting. This will allow them to hit the ground running without requiring much guidance and require you to micromanage less.
Our goal with the Metal for Movement project is to continue to collect tabs on campus for years to come with the hope of collecting enough pop tabs in the next two years to purchase a wheelchair. This will allow us to not only help members in our community but also teach students that you can develop fun and sustainable projects that can also be used to directly benefit your community and the members within it.
Our chapter plans to finish off our two boxes and implement them on campus and then begin our marketing campaign. This campaign will be used to teach students about why these arcade boxes are there, who made them, and how they too can contribute to the project and our chapter’s other ongoing projects. To maintain this project over the next few years, we will incorporate collecting tabs from our barrel, boxes, and residence jars on a monthly basis into the requirements of our Junior Project Manager roles. This will allow us to check on the boxes frequently, perform any necessary maintenance, and decide if the project is worth further expanding. Our original plan was to make more boxes every semester for the next couple years, but we decided it would be best to market our boxes better and only have a few spots on campus for students to drop off their tabs. The hope of this is that we can focus our engineer’s efforts on other new projects and put our marketing team to the test to see how much attention they can bring to the project which in an ideal world should be sufficient to collect a large amount of pop tabs using our current collection facilities.