PIPs earnings possible, but require a long-term effort

29 October 2019

Caitlyn Dieckman

[email protected]

The Positive Impact Points (PIPs) program offers students a way to earn money for being environmentally conscious, but the rate of points puts students in for a long haul.

Over 1,100 UCCS students, as of Sept. 30, are participating in the PIPs program according to director of sustainability, Linda Kogan.

PIPs, according to the UCCS PIPs website, is a program offering students a chance to gain redeemable points for verifiable behavior that benefits the planet, community and personal health.

Kogan said that sustainable activities students can gain points include participating in refilling reusable water bottles, recycling, taking the city bus or riding a bike.

“They also include actions like taking a Safe Zone training with MOSAIC, taking a fitness class, volunteering, participating in a UCCSlead training and studying in the academic,” said Kogan.

In order to gain points, students must download the app and then they can scan the codes that are found all around campus on locations relevant to each activity.

The privacy policy for the app on their website mentions that without opting in personal information will be sold to advertisers who partner with the program.

The personal information descriptions are not explicit, but the privacy policy says that it can include name, telephone number, email address and zip code.

The Google Play Store permissions include location services, so the app may record places where users have been or have taken photos.

According to Kogan, codes for certain activities can be found with staff members who run those activities.

“There are PIPs QR codes at the hydration stations across campus,” said Kogan. “You can also get a PIPs water refill QR codes sticker at the Sustainability Demonstration House to put on your own bottle and fill off-campus.”

Kogan explained that some codes have a limit for how many times they can be scanned.

“Refilling a water bottle has a limit of three per day,” said Kogan “A student also has to wait 30 minutes before refilling to earn more points.”

Refilling a water bottle earns 20 points within the app, making it so that the maximum a user can earn is 60 points a day for that activity.

Most gift card offers on the app require 25,000 points, which would require 417 days of just filling water bottles to earn $25.

“[PIPs] was designed by a woman owned B-corporation,” said Kogan. “They initially worked with CU Boulder to develop the program geared toward higher education.”

After the success of the program at Boulder, UCCS decided to try PIPs, making it the second university in the nation to participate in the PIPs program, according to Kogan.

The PIPs app has a breakdown of offers that can be redeemed for points, with contests and surveys available to be entered into drawings for tuition money based on how much money a student has earned on PIPs. Non-gift card offers are time limited.

Ryan Maikell is the student PIPs engagement specialist who works in the sustainability office, according to the UCCS website. Kogan said that Maikell is the point of contact for feedback with the app and the program, and his email is [email protected].