Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.41
Liaison Marianne Martin
Submission Date March 23, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Colorado Boulder
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Dave Newport
Environmental Center
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Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
PIPs Rewards Sustainability Engagement App

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

CU Boulder introduced the PIPs Rewards App (a mobile platform owned and operated by 3P Partners, a Certified B Corp) for testing on its campus at the beginning of Academic Year 2017-2018. Now, 1) with the prospect of 5% of the student body having downloaded and signed up to use the App before the end of the Academic Year, and 2) having realtime data that shows student-users taking thousands of meaningful and measurable sustainability and related actions each month, CU plans to renew its subscription for another year.

The PIPs App is innovative and unique and deliver the sort of impacts STARS seeks to advance:

- The light, super low friction PIPs App (available on Android and iPhone) tracks and rewards the ‘good’ one does everyday - such as riding the bus, biking, bike and ride sharing, recycling, refilling water bottles or participating in a sustainability workshop - oftentimes without the user having to take her phone out of her pocket.

- Recognizing that daily like choices which contribute to personal wellness also benefit the planet, PIPs broadly defines positive impact to include actions that benefit Mind & Body and Community as well as the Environment. Consequently, popular earn actions include volunteering, taking a fitness class and attending a nutrition workshop, and soon it will be possible to earn PIPs for reaching financial wellness milestones like paying down loans, staying within monthly budget goals and saving.

- The PIPs Apps utilizes principles of behavioral psychology, from loss aversion to competition and valued rewards, to turn positive impact choice-making into highly engaging and rewarding ‘cycle of good.’ The App comes ready with a number of contest tools - for trivia contests, scavenger hunts, fitness challenges and soon a water challenge. Each is easy to implement and great for awareness building.

- By more directly tying engagement in health and sustainability behaviors to fundamental university goals like student retention and success, the PIPs App deepens its appeal to a greater cross-section of the university community. Once earned, PIPs can be converted into great deals on local and organic food; healthy personal care products; responsibly made clothing and gear; fitness classes; shared services, etc. And starting this spring, students who decide to direct their PIPs towards school related expenses such as tuition, enrollment fees, books, etc, will be able to tap matching funds provided through a public foundation. These are the sort of super high value rewards that broaden the app’s appeal and fuel steady and sustained engagement in PIPs beneficial earn actions.

- Measuring impact - or more precisely, aggregating meaningful and measurable positive impact behavior data - is fundamentally what the PIPs App was designed to do. Every action a university wants to encourage - from recruiting new users; to earn actions like volunteering, recycling, biking, walking or riding the bus, or use actions like directing PIPs toward “stay in school” expenses or unlocking discounts on healthy foods - must be verified through some form of data capture (PIPs uses API integration, beacons, sensors, QR codes and transaction reports), and the “event” recorded by its data analytics tool. This allows the PIPs App to gather real time user behavior data that the university can use to meaningfully measure its sustainability impact.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Campus Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.