February 5, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 42°F


Water station to decrease use of plastic waste

Ithaca College’s Resource and Environmental Management Program will  add a water bottle refill station in Campus Center to promote sustainability.

One water bottle refill system will be installed on the third floor of Campus Center within the next couple of weeks. The refill system will be a unit that is installed as an add-on to the current water fountain, but will allow students with water bottles to fill them up with cold, filtered tap water.

REMP leaders hope the refill system will encourage students to use fewer nonreusable water bottles and promote drinking more tap water.

David Prunty, Campus Center and events services director, said Campus Center collaborated with REMP to kick off the initiative with a pilot station. The cost of the station and its filter was about $600.

“You never want to try something without seeing if it will work,” he said. “I can’t imagine people aren’t going to be positive.”

Mark Darling, sustainability programs coordinator at the college and head of REMP, said the station will be beneficial for not only the environment but for the convenience of students as well.

Other institutions across the country, including Washington University, Seattle University and Rice University, have installed bottle refill systems and are trying to eliminate bottled water from their campuses. Darling said he also hopes to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles on campus.

The International Bottled Water Association has already responded negatively to campus efforts to remove water bottles from campuses. A press release from the IBWA said by removing bottled water from vending machines, people would choose an unhealthy, sugary soda instead.

Sophomore Sarah Harty said she hopes more water stations will be added in other areas around campus.

“It is a good idea, and I think that students will use it and take advantage of it,” she said. “They should put one in Textor because that’s where most people walk during class.”

Junior Jessica Wilhelm, president of the college’s chapter of Take Back the Tap, an organization promoting the use of reusable water bottles, said the group is supporting the installation of a station in the Roy H. Park School of Communications before World Water Day on March 22.

“Take Back the Tap fully supports this, and we are going to promote it as much as we can,” she said.

Darling said he hopes positive student response will lead to more being installed.

“My goal is to see one of these types of stations in every building on campus,” he said.

Correction — Previously, this article reported that Take Back the Tap is raising funds for the water bottle refill station that will be installed in March, however they are just in support of the new refill station and no funds are being raised.