By GALINA BELLO
On a recent Sands of Time trip to the New York Philharmonic, a search for a water fountain turned into the discover an Elkay water bottle filling station. It lit up, had a working filter and even had cups for people to use in case they did not have their own bottle.
This particularly fascinated me, because before I came to college, I spent over a year petitioning my own high school for these very stations. This was the first time I had seen once since then, which led me to wonder, why have I not seen water bottle filling stations on our campus?
Elkay introduced EZH2O water bottle filling stations in 2010 as a response to growing demand for drinking solutions which do not rely upon bottled water. Since then, Elkay’s website claims that their water bottle filling stations are “installed in hundreds of colleges and universities, as well as at least 15 airports.” This figure does not include buildings in which competing companies—Oasis, Halsey Taylor, and Brita—have their own water bottle filling stations installed.
Although an exact number of universities with water bottle filling stations cannot be found, countless articles sharing the stories from individual institutions joining this sustainability movement can be easily located.
“The completion of the Water bottle filling stations project was approved; the final three stations will be installed in Faculty Memorial Hall, PC Student Mall, and the Mechanical Engineering Building,” The New Jersey Institute of Technology’s paper, The Vector, reported on Nov. 23.
Rutgers University’s “Take Back the Tap” campaign has been working since February to get water bottle filling stations installed on their campus, according to The Daily Targum. The school also placed within the top 10, along with Ramapo College, in the 2017 nationwide Tap- a-Palooza contest dedicated to collecting sustainability pledges in order to win funding to improve water facilities on campuses. Montclair State University won the contest in 2016.
Princeton University claims it has 250 water bottle filling stations and has handed out reusable bottles to new students every year since 2009. More recently, on Oct. 5, The Setonian noted the Seton Hall Ecology Club’s push for more water bottle filling stations on campus, as well as the rise of bringing reusable cups to the campus.
Likewise, Stockton University’s website provides evidence of water bottle filling stations on their campus, and even FDU’s Florham Campus has them.
If countless schools across the country are installing water bottle filling stations, why hasn’t FDU’s Metropolitan campus?
Hydration is important. It’s not always easy to stay on top of hydration at college, where some of us might have 10 minutes to run from one class on one side of campus to another. Some students might forget to bring water with them to class, some might forget to bring money with them to class to buy water from vending machines and some refuse to drink from regular water fountains because they think tap water just tastes bad.
Water bottle filling stations are not only convenient for students, but for faculty and visitors as well. All a person needs to utilize the machine is an empty water bottle. People are still going to buy from vending machines nevertheless. Water bottle filling stations are for people who want easy access to clean, better-tasting drinking water, to re ll their bottles quickly or reduce the amount of plastic bottles discarded on campus.
The Metro campus is still waiting for a full resolution to its lead issue. Signs warning against the non-potable water can be found around campus.
Elkay bottle- filling stations would be a great solution to this problem.
Elkay claims that their water bottle filling stations are easy to install. They can also be programmed to shut o at a specified time to lower energy costs, and has a counter that tells users how often the machine is used by counting how many plastic bottles were saved by using the machine.
The machine’s filters keep lead, chlorine, taste and odor out of drinking water. There are several different types of models offered by Elkay, Halsey Taylor and Oasis, making it impossible to fail at finding a model that will t over FDU’s current water fountains.
The biggest issue surrounding these machines is cost. Elkay’s base units costs around $1,500, and each different model has its own price. Filters cost $125 and should be replaced once a year. However, these stations would not need to be installed in each building all at once – just one is a start.
Elkay and other sustainability organizations even o er grants and school programs to aid the installation these stations, which could be helpful in the event that several FDU Metro students care about this cause, like myself. Just one or two of these stations could start a sustainability movement at FDU and promote a cleaner, more environmentally aware campus.