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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Green Water

A+specific+vendor+has+not+been+choosen%2C+this+is+how+it+may+look%0Awhen+installed+on+our+campus.%0A

A specific vendor has not been choosen, this is how it may look when installed on our campus.

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) passed a referendum Feb. 1 asking administration to seriously consider the implementation of ‘hydration stations’ on the entire campus, starting with the Campus Center. Campus Center director Geoffrey Combs and other Campus Center administrators are highly supportive of the project and plans for implementation are underway.

Hydration stations are water purification systems that also make refilling bottles or thermoses more convenient than using a conventional water fountain.

USG Budget and Finance chair Jesse Wright thinks that hydration stations would have positive effects on campus life and the environment: “More people would feel comfortable drinking from them and refilling their bottles,” he said. “People would therefore buy less bottled water [and] throw away [fewer] bottles, making our campus greener.”

Some UMass students do not seem overly concerned with water quality, as long as it’s convenient. Matt Flynn, a psychology major, has “never really thought about it.” Jerry Ogale, a management major, said that hydration stations “wouldn’t really matter to me, because I drink [the water] anyways.”

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Campus Services Diane D’Arrigo acknowledged that the issue has taken a back seat lately, but that, “This has been a concern of students for several years. In the past, student groups have approached us and individual students as well.”

Hydration stations are something of a national trend. The University of Delaware, University of California, Berkeley, and University of Georgia, University of Wisconsin, Temple University among others, have already installed them.

“It is not so much about water purification. It is more about waste reduction,” said Campus Center Director Geoffrey Combs. Aditi Pain, coordinator for Recycling and Sustainability, pointed out that most bottled water comes from public water supplies, meaning it is of the same quality that flows from the water fountains. However, the hygienic benefit of the hydration stations is that people are not putting their mouths near the water supply.

Hydration stations are also expected to reduce waste-removal costs. Pain explained, “Plastic bottles and cans are the least-recycled recyclable on campus. Disposing of plastic bottles requires special processing, which raises the cost of disposing of them.”

A hydration station vendor has not been chosen yet but the cost of installation is expected to be “negligible compared to savings from waste removal,” said Combs.

He added that there is ongoing discussion as to how many hydration stations will be installed, and whether they will be installed campus wide or only in the Campus Center. Combs said that conventional water fountains would remain on campus, but there would just be a ‘greener’ option.

The facilities department is supportive of retrofitting some water fountains on campus. However plumbing regulations must be met and there are inspections to be made, making the process of installation lengthy.

 

About the Contributor
Jacob Aguiar served as the following positions for The Mass media the following years: News Editor: 2011-2012; Fall 2012 Leisure Editor: 2010-2011