Brock’s students’ union and administration have partnered on an initiative this fall that has, so far, kept nearly 50,000 plastic water bottles from ending up in landfill.
Earlier this year, the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) purchased eight new water bottle filling stations and Facilities Management purchased one of these units for the University. The stations draw from the school’s municipal water source and use basic filters like the ones already being used in water fountains around campus. Depending on use, filters in these new units are changed approximately twice a year.
The filling stations feature a “green ticker” that tracks usage and displays the number of bottles saved. As of 12:30 p.m. today, these new nine new units have saved 49,807 bottles and counting.
The nine new stations cost about $16,000. BUSU paid for the eight it contributed to the cause using money from its environmental levy, funded by a $1-ancillary fee that students pay per credit to BUSU as part of their tuition. The levy is used to implement projects that improve sustainability and reduce the environmental footprint of both the students’ union and students at Brock.
Varsity basketball player Emily McCay, who was a member of BUSU President Cooper Millard’s campaign team, inspired the initiative, which was a key platform promise of Millard’s during last year’s students’ union executive elections.
“The stations across campus was something I definitely wanted to do,” says Millard. “But the whole concept was definitely a credit to Emily.”
Brock’s Facilities Management team picked up the tab to install eight of the hydration stations at the University’s St. Catharines campus and one at the school’s satellite Hamilton campus. The work, about $1,200 per unit, was within existing budget allocations and was performed by Brock trades staff.
“When our students and administration come together on sustainability initiatives like this for our campus, everyone wins,” says Tom Saint-Ivany, Associate Vice-President, Facilities Management, and chair of Brock’s Sustainability Co-ordinating Committee. “It’s up to all of us to make Brock a more environmentally responsible campus.”
The nine new units bring the total number of water bottle filling stations on Brock’s St. Catharines campus to 21. The Department of Residences has also recently purchased two new units to be installed at their north and south service desks.
Millard, who is a regular user of the filling stations, used to go out of his way to refill his water bottle when there were fewer options on campus.
“When I was a student, I would sometimes go all the way to Walker Complex to fill up my water bottle and then go back to class, just because there was nowhere else to do it,” Millard says. “So we’ve now got them in key locations around campus.”
He’s also quick to point out that BUSU has purchased 4,000 reusable water bottles to give to students to encourage them to get their water from a tap as opposed to a vending machine.
“We’re trying to lead by example,” says Millard.
BUSU’s environmental committee will be auditing the effectiveness of the new hydration stations around campus to see how students are responding to them. The committee is also calling on all Brock students to put forth any ideas or suggestion on how BUSU can move ahead on other projects to make the University more sustainable. Suggestions can be sent to Drew Ursaki at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to fill up? Locations of new water bottle filling stations at Brock:
- BUSU/Plaza Building transition (2nd floor)
- BUSU/Plaza Building transition (3rd floor)
- Thistle Complex (East) (near Tim Hortons)
- Central Utilities Building (CUB)
- General Brock Store
- Guernsey Marketplace
- Computer Commons
- Sean O’Sullivan Theatre
- Hamilton Campus