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Residence Halls to Get Water Fountains

Heights Staff

Published: Sunday, November 20, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

The Residence Hall Administration hopes to pass a new initiative to install water fountains in residence halls as soon as this year. The initiative calls for water fountains to be placed in residence halls where students do not have a kitchen or half kitchen.

If the movement gains enough momentum, the water fountains could be installed as early as next year, depending on the construction involved with the additional plumbing.

The initial drive for the water fountains began at town hall meetings in the fall of 2010 when students wrote a suggestion to add water fountains for sustainability purposes, and an additional e-mail poll showed that students sought such improvements in their residence halls across campus.

"We saw that many common bathroom residence halls did not have any place for residents to get water except for the bathroom sink," said Will Rush, president of the RHA and A&S '12. "This is both a convenience issue, as well as a sustainability issue, as we hope that residents will choose to refill a water bottle as opposed to buying large packs of water only to throw out the plastic bottles later."

Currently, the initiative is being considered as one of the top priorities for the RHA, and the process to get the movement off the ground has already begun. The RHA has started negotiating with University administrators and are also looking to gather student support for the cause. Over the course of the next month, the RHA plans to collect student opinions through their town hall meetings and surveys, and with those they plan to submit an official proposal within the month.

"Being both realistic and hopeful, I would like to get the initiative passed this year," said Andrew Bardetti, vice president of Community Life with the RHA and A&S '12. "If we get enough student support behind this we could get the initiative passed this semester, but the water fountains would probably be put in next year due to the level of construction and plumbing that would have to happen. "We have decided to target those residence halls where students do not have their own kitchen or half kitchen, since the water fountains we would like to get are those that a student could fill a water bottle up at."

The student outreach for the plan has grown due to the benefits the water fountains would provide for students, particularly those who only have access to sink water in their halls.

"One of the more open-ended questions asked students ‘how would you improve the residence halls?" said Mike Masse, director of the Student Advocacy for RHA and A&S '13. "A good amount of responses called for the addition of water fountains in non-apartment residence halls. Certainly, it's easy to see how water fountains could be beneficial to students, and sustainable. Instead of purchasing plastic water bottles, which often do not make their way into recycling bins, a student could easily fill up his or her water bottle, even multiple times a day."

Rush, Bardetti, and Masse have teamed up to lead the initiative, and are holding town hall meetings to gauge student opinions and increase support for the movement.

"Support from the students will be the real driving force behind whether or not this initiative is successful," Masse said. "One thousand students are much more convincing than just a few. We need to prove that this will be a worthwhile investment for Boston College."

Over the next few weeks, more in depth questionnaires will be sent out through e-mail from each Resident Director, and the opinions will be presented during the RHA's meeting with the administration. Town hall meetings are also being held both on Newton, Upper, and Lower campus locations to encourage students to come out and show support.

"Everyone should look out for our town halls this fall, come to add their student voice to ours, and remember that RHA is here to lead through serving the needs of the Boston College residential community," Bardetti said.

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