Team CHAUS: Immerse

This week, Team CHAUS focused on immersing themselves in the issue of sustainability in Rice Coffeehouse and its users. Before starting this stage, we had already done research into CHAUS’s various current sustainability initiatives that included discounts on bringing your own mug, in-house mugs, and more. We first started out by creating a survey that generated over 200+ responses about their general habits and knowledge of these current sustainability solutions. From these responses, we were able to gain an understanding that while most people already know about CHAUS’s sustainability initiatives the overall usage of them is low. Afterward, we conducted 5 user interviews using questions based on the results that helped us generate this user persona:


Meet Tyler. He’s a junior from Baker and tries to be environmentally conscious whenever it is convenient for him. Tyler goes to Coffeehouse 3-4 times a week usually in between his afternoon classes and activities. Although he owns his own mug, it’s too much of hassle to go back and get it or carry the mug in his bag all day. Most of the time he ends up using one of the paper or plastic cups along with a straw or a lid and is unsure how to properly recycle or dispose of the items. After he gets his drink, Tyler leaves Coffeehouse and goes to his next activity for the day.


Tyler’s experiences and typical routine represents our main insights from this immerse phase. 


  • Coffeehouse users are aware of CHAUS’s sustainability options, but for one reason or another, they are not utilized.
  • Our general user does not stay in Coffeehouse after he gets his drink and using the in-house coffee mugs is inconvenient.
  • While most users have their own mugs, it’s too much of a hassle to carry it on them or go back and get it.
  • After coffeehouse users are finished with their coffee, they are not sure of how to dispose of their items


One of our interviewees was very knowledgeable about sustainability here at Rice. She gave us recommendations and information on current initiatives through H&D and gave us ideas on how Coffeehouse could be improved sustainability wise through new sourcing of inventory. 


Another user we are still exploring are the keepers of coffee. The setup of the dish cleaning area of Coffeehouse is very inefficient and makes washing the dishes difficult.

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