New water bottle filler stations keep students hydrated

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History lecturer Van Herd fills up his water bottle at a water bottle filler station outside of RLM on Monday afternoon. The multi-level fountain is one of 13 locations where students can refill bottles.

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

Eco-minded students will have more hydration options around campus with 13 new installations specifically designed to refill water bottles.

The installation project, which was initiated by Student Government and Staff Council and started in early September, has taken existing water fountains and created a space to accommodate water bottles. The project will be completed next week with the last two water bottle fillers being installed in the Communications Building A.

Shannon Hanney, project planning and production control manager, said he thinks the installations will be well-received because of the student initiative behind the installation.

“Facilities that have those water fountains installed and have the monitoring feature [to track usage] have shown to be popular with students,” Hanney said. “We’re certainly glad to support it.”

Hanney said Staff Council and Student Government worked together to identify the 13 water bottle filler locations. He said the project cost to date, including materials, is $1,437, which was funded by the UT Green Fee Committee. The Green Fee account includes the $5 fee added to every UT students’ tuition during each long semester.

Collaboration between the UT Green Fee committee and Student Government resulted in an outdoor water fountain project that implemented a multi-level water fountain and water bottle filler station outside the RLM building.

Mike Debow, associate director of Project Management and Construction Services, said the fountains will help make the campus more environmentally sustainable.

“We’ve installed what I call the upside-down J fountain,” DeBow said. “Someone can take a personally-owned water bottle and fill it up, which cuts down on trash and [disposable waste].”

Student body president Horacio Villarreal said the project was undertaken as part of an effort to have more accessible water options across campus.

“We’re very excited to see the hard work of Student Government members come to fruition after the long, dedicated work that each put in,” Villarreal said.

Villarreal said he hopes the water bottle fillers will influence student health and wellness. 

“By providing these bottle fillers, we certainly hope that more students are utilizing these services so that we may continue to implement water bottle fillers across campus,” Villarreal said.

Villarreal said there are not any plans right now to implement more fillers, but Student Government will monitor the frequency with which the fountains are being used.

“If we see a high demand, then we will certainly make a case for more water bottle fillers,” Villarreal said.