Water Bottle Refilling Stations Contribute to Greener Campus

Upon arrival at Syracuse University, every new student is given a free reusable water bottle supplied by Food Services and Housing. Not only does the water bottle serve as a nice welcoming gift, but the students now have their own way of contributing to a greener campus.

Water bottle refilling stations are popping up around campus.

Water bottle refilling stations are popping up around campus.

Starting in 2011, SU’s Physical Plant Maintenance Zones started installing EZH2 to Go units, or water bottle filling stations, on campus. The first station was placed in Schine Student Center near suite 126. Since then, 10 more stations have been installed in academic buildings on campus.

“Every time a reusable bottle is used, there is one less plastic single-serve bottle having to be recycled, thrown out [and] end up in a landfill or worse, end up in our waterways,” says Melissa Cadwell, marketing manager in the Sustainability Division.

Emma Edwards, a junior policy studies and geography major, has been passionate about environmental conservation since stepping foot on campus, and started a Sustainability Club during her freshman year.

Edwards and members of the Sustainability Club saw the installation of water bottle filling stations as a great first initiative. “During my first semester at Syracuse University in fall 2011, I saw more people carrying around and purchasing plastic water bottles than I had ever seen in my life. These bottles create waste and their production is taxing on the environment,” Edwards says.

The waste produced by plastic water bottles was an issue the club discussed in its very first meeting. “The water bottle filling stations seemed perfect as they help to alleviate waste and the environmental impact of plastic bottles, as well as helping students save money,” Edwards says.

The club members began writing letters to University officials to show their interest in having water bottle filling stations installed on campus. “They began to spring up at the end of the fall 2011 semester and now there are even more around campus that the University installed themselves,” Edwards says.

The units, which look like drinking fountains from the future, have a tall back to them and a spot for users to place a bottle for a water refill, hands free. The machines keep a visible count of how many single service bottles are avoided by using the filling stations, so students, faculty and staff can see the difference they are making.

Physical Plant has plans to continue installing filling stations on campus as the older fountains begin to wear down and need replacement.

For more information about sustainability at SU, visit the SU Sustainability website, follow @SustainableSU on Twitter and check out the Syracuse University Sustainability Facebook page.