The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Gator Take: SFSU’s frustrating fountain fiasco

Students are left thirsty for solutions as faulty fountains plague campus hydration efforts

If there were an award handed out for the least effective drinking fountains on a college campus, San Francisco State University’s candidacy would run laps around the rest of the competition.

It’s not really all that close, either. 

At SFSU’s main campus, the process of finding a location to fill up a water bottle or engage in a quick refreshment isn’t difficult. The school features a seemingly endless amount of drinking fountains inside and outside buildings — most of which are Elkay-branded — that are equipped with key amenities for the single goal of a positive hydration experience.

Instead, these complicated machines and modern-day menaces have made life on campus significantly tougher. Anyone who is, even the slightest bit, familiar with these awful fountains is aware they’re more inconsistent than a leaky faucet during a lengthy drought.

First off, the act of an individual simply diving their head down for a drink is excruciatingly frustrating when it constantly feels like a real-life game of whack-a-mole. When the head is lowered and ready for water, nothing happens. Pure crickets — until the exact second after the head is highered. It’s a timing mechanism that nobody could ever time perfectly.

Even when the water does spurt out, the stream of the fountain is initially strong only to be relieved of all pressure after a few seconds, leaving a person forced to have their lips dangerously close to the metal knob responsible for carrying millions of germs.

These Elkay fountains present themselves as normal and traditional models, but they’re not. If someone tries to press the button, they’ll soon realize it’s a trap and not actually a pressable button. Instead, it’s like jamming an entire hand into a brick wall.

Yes, deceiving.

The sensor-activated nature of these water stations is also overwhelmingly unnecessary. While the idea of a hands-free drinking experience sounds convenient, the thought also displays the pure laziness of what advanced technology is expecting out of humans in the future — absolutely nothing.

There should be a genuine fear that — similar to the next generation of children who will never be able to tell time by looking at the big and small hands on a physical clock — people will never need to hold down a water fountain button again. Why? Because of the overreliance on technology and the desire for us to have less control over our products.

The other aspect is using the water bottle filling platform. They’re slow. Painfully slllllllllllllloooooooow.

Since the stream on many of the stations is so thin, the average time to fill up a metal bottle is roughly 40 seconds. To add insult to injury, the stream has a sensory device to stop filling after a few seconds. A person would then need to remove the bottle and place it back for the stream to begin again.

A person could effortlessly stroll to Cafe Rosso, buy a plastic water bottle, and come back unharmed within the same duration it would take to fill a standard-sized reusable bottle. Not only is the process annoying, it’s also unhelpful to the educational journey of most. The more time spent in the hallway filling up a bottle equals less time in the classroom learning important content.

Despite the school having 60+ bottle stations, a few key ones have experienced their fair share of difficulties recently.

The station on the first floor of the Humanities Building, near one of the elevators, has been missing for quite some time — at least a few semesters now — and has developed into the prime definition of an eyesore. At Mashouf Wellness Center, there have been complaints regarding the filter status.

Most pay tens of thousands of dollars every year to attend SFSU. The least the administration and facilities division could do is supply students with working and reliable water fountains. Instead, they’re providing their students with water fountains and bottle refillers that should be residing inside a crummy dumpster.

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About the Contributor
Steven Rissotto
Steven Rissotto, Managing Editor
Steven Rissotto (he/him) is co-managing editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is a journalism major with an education minor. A native of Pacifica, Steven attended Archbishop Riordan High School, where he played baseball and wrote on their award-winning newspaper, The Crusader. Before transferring to SFSU in Fall 2022, he attended Skyline College for two years and wrote for The Skyline View. He also covers the San Francisco Giants for SF Giants Baseball Insider on Sports Illustrated.  In his spare time, Steven enjoys cracking jokes, watching documentaries and sports, reading biographies and recording his baseball podcast, RizzoCast.

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