Water refill stations encourage re-use of bottles

Mon, 2012-09-17 08:00 -- univcomm
September 17, 2012

Anderson University recently installed water bottle refill stations in several locations across campus. Through the installation of these refill stations, the university hopes that students will take the time to refill their water bottles instead of buying new ones.

Refill stations are now located in Hartung Hall and the bottom of Decker with new stations soon to be installed in all residence halls on campus, as well as in Nicholson Library and the Olt Student Center near the SGA Office.

The refill stations were a joint effort by the Student Government Association (SGA) and Dick Sprague, sustainability program coordinator. Sprague had been considering the idea for some time, and when he learned that the SGA Senate had similar ideas, the two came together to make it happen.

Sprague began weekly meetings with Ryan Petter, a 2012 AU grad who served as SGA Senate secretary of finance and environmental affairs last year.

After their meetings, Sprague researched the kinds of filters that were available. “We were able to purchase units that were functional, provided clean, cold water, and didn’t overspend,” said Sprague.

Petter took care of the logistics of the filters and helped by gaining university approval. He also continued to have meetings with the SGA senate about the topic.

The units that were purchased provide the highest level of filtration, which reduces lead, chlorine, and phosphate in the water, while improving the water’s overall taste and clarity. “The bottom line is to get the water as clean, healthy, and good tasting as possible,” said Sprague.

The filters were a success, and at times, people were lined up to refill their bottles.

“I was thrilled that the refill stations came about,” said Faith Clawson, administrative assistant in the Development Office. “The access and convenience is great. I didn’t drink as much water before, but now I use the station daily.”

The water bottle refill stations provided not only an alternative to buying bottled water and reducing the amount of plastic thrown away for recycling purposes, but also a better tasting, healthier choice.

“One of the big reasons for installing the water bottle refill stations, in my opinion, was to reduce the amount of throw-away plastic,” said Sprague. “About one and a half tons of plastic are thrown away a month on AU’s campus, and whatever we can do to reduce the amount of throw away plastic, that’s good for the environment.”

— Tiffany Vega is a junior from Valparaiso, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in marketing. Vega is an associate with Fifth Street Communications, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.