Fill it Forward Case Study


UCalgary launched Fill it Forward in 2018 to encourage students, faculty and staff to reduce the number of single use water bottles and coffee cups on campus. Participants receive a tag to stick on their reusable coffee cup or water bottle, and each time they use their reusable cup/bottle, they can scan the tag with the Fill it Forward app to:

  1. Track their environmental footprint
  2. Give clean water to someone in need
  3. Set hydration goals
  4. Earn badges and rewards

To share this program with the campus community, the CLL team used engagement booths, social media and institutional channels. The engagement booths were set-up at The Landing, the Sustainability Resource Centre and the Cumming School of Medicine Foothills campus. At some booths, the team included free items, such as coffee for those who had reusable mugs, or held a lottery prize draw to encourage people to approach the booth to learn more.


  • The booths were highly successful at providing an outlet for people to learn about the project and gain a better understanding of UCalgary’s sustainability goals.
  • Data showed that usage increased following outreach initiatives. For example, when the project launched in October 2018, the team hosted one information booth resulting in 81 app downloads. The following month they hosted two engagement booths and more than doubled the number of app downloads. In December and January, there were no information booths, and evidently only had a collective 36 additional app downloads.

Next Steps:

  • Continuation of engagement booths to promote and scale Fill it Forward to reduce the amount of single use water bottles and coffee cups on campus. Suggested locations include MacEwan Hall, the Bookstore and the Taylor Family Digital Library.
  • Social media will continue to be used to present marketing materials, inspire students to take action and celebrate contest winners.