Student protests lead to new electronic water fountains
Filtered water bottle filling stations and drinking fountains will soon replace five standard water fountains on campus.
The Office of Sustainability and President Leslie E. Wong initiated this project, which was supported by students and staff in large numbers after protestors filled the pouring rights open forum last semester.
“They will help remind people that they are actually helping the environment by not using plastic water bottles,” said Nick Kordesch, the administrative analyst for physical planning and development.
These filling stations will be free to use and will supply filtered water to students and staff.
“Our water is of high quality already, but we have heard so many requests for filtered water from the campus community,” Kordesch said. “If thats what it takes to get people to transition from plastic water bottles, then it’s worth a try.”
Features will also include chilled water and a small digital screen that will display how many disposable water bottles the user has saved, according to Kordesch.
The water bottle filling systems will be installed on the first four levels of the J. Paul Leonard Library, along with one in the Student Services Building.
“These are high-traffic areas that are frequented by students,” said Cailtin Steele, the director of sustainability and energy at SF State.
The date of the first installment has yet to be finalized.
“Five will be installed by the end of the spring semester,” Steele said. “This is a replacement project. Each new water bottle filling station will replace an older model water fountain.”
According to Kordesch, they plan to retrofit up to 30 drinking fountains across campus. Some fountains have already been equipped with a cheaper water bottle filler, which sits on top of the fountain and allows you to fill up a bottle more easily.
Retrofitting of existing drinking fountains started in 2013, when they installed 11 spouts, one in each building. Exact locations can be found on SF State’s website.
“The funding comes from money that we’ve saved from previous energy efficiency projects,” Kordesch said. “For example, we installed more efficient lighting in the parking garage and all the money we saved from the cheaper electricity bill, plus some grant money from CSU, goes towards other sustainability projects like the bottle fillers.”
The Office of Sustainability, Wong, the Environmentally Concerned Organization of Students, The Green Initiative Fund and other student organizations have been working together toward a more sustainable and less waste-producing campus.
“I think it’s a really great idea, especially because plastic water bottles could be very expensive,” said Rachel Parry, an American literature and creative writing student.
In order to help the city of San Francisco reach the goal of zero waste by 2020, this system will decrease the number of non-reusable bottles on campus, and the Office of Sustainability is promoting reusable bottles or canteens, according to SF State’s Zero Waste by 2020 Initiative website.
SF State’s website shows that, as of 2009, SF State diverted over 71 percent of its waste from the landfill, and continues to work toward a higher number.
In past semesters, SF State has taken a variety of different steps in making the campus more sustainable, including planting native plants able to withstand drought conditions, installing a computer-operated irrigation system and developing of the Mashouf Wellness Center, which will include state of the art energy and water conservation methods. according to SF State Sustainability Initiatives,