New year, new cups

Campus Dining & Shops introduces smaller fountain beverage cups


Fountain drinks are 10 percent smaller this semester than last, but cost the same amount.

In January, Campus Dining & Shops introduced a new plastic version of their previous paper-based cups. The change, according to CDS, was made to change the cups “in terms of both integrity and ability to be recycled,” with the new plastic cups being both recyclable and reusable.

“The process [to create new cups] began last spring, and wrapped up this past semester in response to two issues: the current cup breaking down quickly and becoming soft before the guest finished using it and the fact that it could not be commercially composted or recycled on campus,” Raymond Kohl, marketing manager for CDS, said in an email.

The new plastic cup, however, differs from the previous cup in more than material. The size of the cup, 20 oz., is down from its 22 oz. predecessor, according to Kohl who said 20 oz. is the industry standard for fountain beverages. The price of fountain beverages served at UB is still $1.99, remaining unchanged since last semester.

Vincent Manuella, a freshman aerospace engineering major, isn’t bothered by the change in sizes, even if the price is the same.

“I know it holds a few ounces less than the old cups, but it’s not that big of a difference to me personally,” Manuella said.

“I’m sure some people would have something to say about that, but I’m perfectly fine with it. I usually drink water, honestly, so I don’t get a fountain drink [when I use meals], but when I do, the size doesn’t concern me much.”

Manuella, who sometimes struggled with the old CDS fountain cups, views the new sturdiness of the plastic cups as a positive change.

“I thought the old cups were a little bit flimsy. If they sat for too long, they got wet and soggy as paper does, but otherwise they functioned for their purpose,” Manuella said.

“For the new cups, trying to put the lids on they tend to collapse if you’re not careful but otherwise they’re more sturdy. They’re definitely more reliable than the old cups.”

Other students like Matt Seganti, a freshman mechanical engineering major, thought the cups held more liquid than the old cups until The Spectrum informed him they were smaller.

“I think I pay enough to go to this school and I don’t like the fact I have to pay the same for less, even if it’s cups,” Seganti said. “I do think the new cups look better and if they are recyclable, I can lose the two ounces. None of the cups I had last semester broke down on me, but the new ones definitely look cooler.”

The new look was conceived after CDS’ Student Advisory Board provided feedback on the cup and took note of the recyclable and reusable nature, according to Kohl who said the last change to CDS fountain beverage cups came between 2008-2009.

Manuella thinks the new cup’s recyclable material is beneficial, even though students may not go out of their way to find recycling bins on campus.

“It’s excellent, especially for recycling drives going on [on campus], but the old cups I would imagine would be a little bit more biodegradable. However, I can see the wax [on the old cup] prohibiting that,” Manuella said.

Some students like Gemini Zajac, a sophomore theatre major, said the plastic cups don’t contribute to environmental decline and thinks the old cups especially became problematic in the cold weather.

“It was quite bad and when you gripped the old cups from the top,” Zajac said. “It was hard to get the tops on, so I was not a fan. The new cups are pretty and a lot easier to manage. They are definitely easier to manage and not as much condensation appears on the outside of the cups.”

Zajac doesn’t think much about the trimmed down size of the cup, despite the price being the same.

“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal that they’re smaller,” Zajac said. “It’s almost kind of helpful because I almost feel like I have to finish everything in my cup. It’s a little more healthier for me and everyone else who drink out of the cups.”

Benjamin Blanchet is the senior features editor and can be contacted at


 Benjamin Blanchet is a graduate student and student journalist based in Buffalo, New York. Aside from The Spectrum, Blanchet has appeared in Brooklyn’s ARTSY Magazine and New York’s RESPECT. Magazine.