Water refill stations approved by Sustainability Committee

BY STEVEN VIERA ’16
Assistant News Editor

The Diplomatic Congress (DipCon) recently approved an initiative to install multiple water-refill stations across campus. This project is being undertaken by Dip Con’s Sustainability Committee in an effort to fight the amount of waste generated by plastic water bottles.

The stations will allow students to refill reusable water bottles with chilled, filtered water. Certain stations will have additional, larger water reservoirs in order to accommodate students and ensure everyone has access to the water. Furthermore, each refill station will feature an LED display to show the amount of plastic water bottles saved based on volume.

“We chose to install refill stations around campus because disposable plastic water bottle use on campus is very high and generates a large amount of excess waste,” said Sean Tippen ’14, chair of DipCon’s Sustainability Committee.

“It is our hope that the installation of these units will reduce the amount of plastic used on campus as well as encourage people to drink water.”

Installation of the stations will take place over the Summer and will be ready for use by the beginning of next semester. Additionally, once the installation is complete, all students will be given reusable Nalgene water bottles so they can take advantage of the new stations.

Twenty-two stations will be installed at locations such as Mayser Physical Education Center, the Alumni Sports and Fitness Center, academic buildings, most student dorms, and other high-traffic areas.

Post-installation maintenance will be relatively low.

“After these stations are installed, the only foreseeable maintenance is that the filters occasionally need to be replaced inside of the units,” Tippen said. “[Facilities and Operations] will be coordinating these replacements.”

F&M’s Sustainability Committee is funding the purchase and installation of these new stations.

“The cost of the stations plus installation and materials is approximately $55,000. The Nalgene water bottles, which every student will receive next semester, cost approximately $14,000 in total,” Tippen said.

Once Tippen and the members of the Sustainability Committee decided to pursue the initiative, he and Jared Gorin ’13, president of the Diplomatic Congress, met with school officials in order to have the stations installed.

Tippen eventually met with Mike Wetzel and Nic Auwaerter ’11 from F&O, who helped him decide which stations and units would best serve the F&M community.

Additionally, Tippen also worked with Sarah Dawson and other members of the Wohlsen Center for the Sustainable
Environment.

Tippen, the Sustainability Committee, and DipCon are working on a number of projects to help make F&M more eco-friendly. These include a paperless workshop to reduce paper waste, the installation of 16 Dyson Airblade Hand Dryers, and the renovation of a number of lights to LED.

“Overall, we are all working on instituting ideas from the newly approved Sustainability Master Plan, which outlines a large amount of initiatives that we hope to accomplish in the coming years,” Tippen said.

Questions? Email Steven at sviera@fandm.edu.

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