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Archives > January 2014 > Sustainable Hydration Options: Two Campus Experiences

Sustainable Hydration Options: Two Campus Experiences

College is a place to learn, a place to receive an education both inside and outside the classroom. With newfound personal awareness and an encouraging culture, campuses provide the ideal environment for students to evaluate common perceptions, pursue their passions, and support cause-related movements.

By: Katy Hess

Additionally, college students are notorious for starting and leading new political, educational, environmental and/or personal trends.

Two college campuses are making strides in green practices through innovative approaches to campus hydration: Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, and University of Nevada, Reno.

Reducing Number of Plastic Water Bottles on Campus
Quinnipiac University is a private, coeducational university serving 6,500 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students at its three campuses. Like many schools, Quinnipiac University is committed and actively engaged in a far-reaching campaign to go "green" with ongoing initiatives across all campuses including wind turbines, low VOC paint, and an energy consumption monitoring system.

Quinnipiac facility staff noticed that there were a growing number of students in their community walking around campus with reusable water bottles. They immediately recognized that students were adopting the growing trend to reduce bottled water waste and increase their usage of reusable water bottles. In turn, the University decided to help support their campus population's growing sustainability efforts by providing a sustainable hydration option.

Keith Woodward, Associate Vice President of Facilities Operations, started researching sustainable hydration options. After seeing a video online, Woodward found his. His viewing of the product video quickly triggered ideas on how multiple units could service his campus. Woodward shares, "I came across the BritaR Hydration StationR as a better way to refill bottles than traditional water fountains. It was clean, easier to use and helps reduce the use of plastics on campuses," stated Woodward. He was also drawn to the touch-free, sensor-operated nature of the device.

"The students and staff love them," said Woodward "I can't put in enough to satisfy our community." Initially Quinnipiac started promoting the new units through their online website and their sustainability team, but Woodward claims that they don't need much promotion. Word quickly spread about the installations throughout the community and now students just know where they are.

Water Consumption on Campus and Promoting Water Filtering Systems
Student hydration is often a priority on campus, and schools often seek out innovative technologies to serve these initiatives. Every year, many administrations are choosing to focus some of their energies on the importance of hydration and encouraging sustainable efforts on campus.

Administrators can become concerned if their students are not consuming enough water because of limited options. In turn, if students and staff do not have a suitable water source, they are certain to increase their consumption of bottled water. Obviously, many administrators are not happy with the environmental impact associated with disposable plastic water bottles. With a specific vision in mind, administrators turn to researching different water dispenser solutions.

Not only can water filtering systems provide a touch-free, hygienic way to attain refreshing water, but they can also encourage students and faculty to use multi-use bottles and cups thereby significantly decreasing single-use plastic bottle consumption and waste, further assisting campuses in their sustainability efforts. A single station can help reduce as many as 36,000 standard 16.9 oz. bottles each year. Additionally, units can be introduced by campus fundraising efforts that sell stainless steel bottles with the school mascots and publicizing the units through school newsletters and emails.

University of Nevada, Reno's Student Union: Encouraging Communal Sustainability
As the school website attests, The University of Nevada, Reno, is a National Tier 1 University, according to U.S. News & World Reports, which places them in the top two hundred of all universities in the nation. It is a teaching and research university established in 1874 which offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level and serves approximately 18,000 students.

The student union of any university is an integral part of any university's educational environment, providing services and programs for the student body community. Traditionally considered the "living room" of the campus, today's student unions are gathering places offering an informal location to further foster and enrich the unity of the campus. Taking all this into consideration, the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) transformed their existing student union into a 167,000 square-foot, four-story, environmentally friendly facility offering the campus and community a new "front door" to the University.

The new UNR Joe Crowley Student Union wanted to duplicate the time-honored tradition of a central gathering spot inside the student union that would further enhance the brand new building and help support their sustainability efforts.

When researching traditional community gathering locations, Chuck Price, Director of the Joe Crowley Student Union, came across the concept of the conventional watering hole. For thousands of years, watering-holes were recognized as the location to not only collect water but to share information, catch up on news and socialize with neighbors and friends. Price chose to honor that tradition and install a hydration station that would act as the student union's "water well". The system offered a touchfree, hygienic unit for filling reusable bottles thereby encouraging users to reduce bottled water use. "We invest in education, not bottled water," added Price.

To introduce the unit to the 16,681 students, the Joe Crowley Student Union staff sponsored an Earth Day event distributing t-shirts and reusable bottles and presented the movie "Tapped" to increase awareness of the benefits of using multi-use bottles. "It's great, I love it!" exclaimed a fourth-year student at the event.

"We call it The Nevada Well," states Price, calling it "The Best Water on Campus." Surrounding the Nevada Well is a hand-painted mural depicting a traditional stone water-well and several native Nevada items to further foster the community water-well experience.

 

 

About The Author
Katy Hess

is the Communications Assoc. Manager for Haws Corporation. BritaR Hydration StationsR offer users the benefits of great-tasting, BritaR filtered water away-from-home without the waste and cost of bottled water. The multiple product options transform regular tap water using a certified advanced filtration system.

 

 

PUPN Magazine is a trademark of Flaherty Media, LLC, copyright 2017. PUPN Magazine and all contents are properties of Flaherty Media, LLC.