Analysis of OWU’s Water Fill-Up Stations
My objective for this project was to asses the locations of the current water re-fill stations and provide possible alternative locations. Alternative locations in the sense that will promote more uses by students, which translates into less of a demand for the purchase of plastic bottles.
The purpose for selecting this as my project is in response to the sustainability issues that currently have an impact on both humans and animals around the planet. Over consumption of plastic bottles has led to massive amounts of waste that have not been properly dealt with. Steps for recycling these plastic water bottles that are available in multiple locations on campus have been made and implemented but this is not my aim for this project. Since most students I’ve seen over the three and a half years I’ve attended OWU I came to the conclusion that the majority of students elect to buy a plastic water bottle like “Smartwater” and then throw it away.
I propose that students will be more inclined to re-fill those bottles if the opportunity is there and is efficient for them to use.
The research that I did was to put boots to ground and assess locations that currently have or do not have a re-fill station. Locations I studied were Edwards Gym, Merrick Hall, University Hall, Philips Hall, and the library. What these locations all have in common was foot traffic. This increases the probability that a station will be used coupled with the possible demand of students needing to re-fill. The results I found were good and bad but also led me to suggest possible areas that could benefit from a re-fill station. Examples of these are below.
The photo on the left Hamwill’s lobby which is the place most frequented during any day. The re-fill station is just behind off frame between the two bathrooms and a waste container. Students getting lunch or just going from the parking lot to the Jaywalk pass by it, increasing the chance of usage. The middle photo is in Merrick Hall and is another example if a good location but for another reason. Waste containers are often locations of high frequency which represents an added chance of usage. If a student is on their way to throw the empty water bottle away and sees a re-fill station then the chances are they will re-fill the bottle instead of tossing it. The final picture on the right is in Philips Hall which represents an inefficient location. The water fountain is located in the lobby of a popular building in which the lobby itself acts as a location to sit and wait for your class or take a study break. The addition of vending machines and bathrooms in close proximity to this water fountain only boost this locations possible usage.
Course of Action
With the existing water pipes that currently run to water fountains in buildings such as Philips Hall, University, and the library I propose that Ohio Wesleyan accolade funds into implementing re-fill stations in areas that meet the mention criteria for good and effective locations. The costs of both installing and modifying the pipes in addition to the purchasing of the stations I do not know but it will be an expensive operation. However, for a school that already attempts to make changes to reduce their footprint on the environment, this would be a great step.
Long term payoffs of less waste coupled with greater access to water would only boost the environmental state of mind that seems to be gaining widespread attention.
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