By Cole Schnieders, Staff Writer
For three years, our Student Government Association has been fighting for students who were thirsty, not for justice, but for water. After a test implementation last spring of a water bottle refilling station in the corridor between the Dugan Library and the Student Center, we finally have our liquid liberation: three additional water bottle stations in Eck, De Mattias, and Carocci Hall.
When I returned from break and refilled my bottle after my first class in Eck Hall, I was mildly surprised. I didn’t remember the station being there before. I shrugged and chugged my water, thankful. But I wasn’t the only student who noticed.
The following day, Senior Lacey Colvin expressed her gratitude on Twitter.
“May I just say how grateful I am for @NewmanU installing the bottle filling stations on all the water fountains,” Colvin said.
Colvin was followed by former SGA president Marisa Zayat, who thanked members of the 2018-2019 Grounds and Security Committee.
Current SGA president Emily Larkin joined the conversation, thanking the SGA members for the past three years, pointing to the initiative’s long past.
In Spring 2018, Bill 1854 passed, allocating $500 towards the initial water bottle filling station. However, the bill wasn’t carried out for almost another year. It wasn’t until Spring 2019 that the unit was actually installed. Despite the delay, water aficionados, athletes and environmental-conscience students alike took warmly to the upgraded watering hole between the vending machines in the Student Center. As of writing, the station has saved more than 4,000 single-use water bottles.
Following the success of that initial station, SGA made plans to add four more stations in Eck, BGSC, DeMattias, and Carocci Hall. The Spring 2019 bill passed unanimously, allocating $3,800 in SGA funds for the initiative.
Despite confidence that passed the bill, the 2019-2020 SGA inherited the bill with uncertainty according to Oct. 31 minutes, as the stations should have been implemented prior to Fall 2019. Luckily for the Newman community, the bill hadn’t been thrown out with the bathwater. This year’s Security and Grounds Committee worked to have the funds spent in tandem with the Theatre Department and Res. Life.
I think what’s so fascinating about this whole process was that, despite the large support from SGA senators and students, a fairly simple bill took three years of hard work and collaboration to enact. For folks that want to make a difference in the world, it’s a reminder that change, even good change, can be slow-moving and challenging. For now though, I’d like to propose a toast to our SGA leadership and congratulate them on a job well done; we can all drink (water) to that.
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Vantage Archives.