Water fountains benefit environment

By Justin Richter

In an effort to reduce water bottle usage, new water dispensers have been implemented above the water fountains in the Student Center.

Elkay EZH20 machines were a project started by student managers of the Student Center with a goal to save 100,000 plastic water bottles.

“We do manager projects every summer and that summer, in 2010, we did environmental friendly projects,” said Brittany Begley, an educational policy studies and evaluations graduate student.

These water dispensers count the amount of plastic water bottles saved with each fill-up.

“Carrying your own water bottle obviously has environmental benefits with waste reduction, and also economic benefits because it’s filtered, cold and free,” said Shane Tedder, UK sustainability coordinator.

The Student Center staff was brought the idea and started promoting and marketing tin water bottles for re-use.

“It’s a fantastic example that students with great ideas can improve the campus of UK,” Tedder said.

“They had a major impact in a short time and this project is a great example of that.”

Their goal to save 100,000 plastic water bottles was achieved in less than two years. The current number of water bottles saved in the Student Center is over 128,000, Tedder said.

In addition to the Student Center, spouts were added to the Johnson Center.

Almost 350,000 plastic water bottles have been saved, according Rob Theakston, assistant director of marketing and programming for the Student Center.

“The manufacturing and transportation of these water bottles have also been cut down, the ability to save so many resources by just using a water bottle is such a good idea,” Tedder said.

The water dispensers raise awareness about the amount of water that is being used, Begley said.

“Our main goal is to encourage students to be environmentally friendly,” Begley said.