WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Proper hydration is a health benefit but filling your glass or water bottle with clean, cool water can be tough during the pandemic.
West Liberty University is improving its water availability situation while encouraging environmental thinking, thanks to funding from Southwestern Energy (SWN).
“I’m so grateful to Southwestern Energy for providing a leadership gift of $20 thousand to complete Phase 1 of our water refill station initiative, which includes installation of touchless water refill stations in all public buildings on campus,” explained Angela Zambito-Hill, executive director of the WLU Foundation.
“Southwestern Energy is excited about this environmentally friendly initiative that is expected to dramatically reduce plastic bottle waste campus wide, while also ensuring students, staff and faculty have hands free access to water across the campus,” said Amy Dobkin, SWN community relations manager.
The need for the environmentally safe bottle filling stations came to the forefront when COVID-19 required all campus drinking fountains to be turned off due to safety requirements.
“We turned the fountains off last spring as we followed CDC guidelines for keeping our campus safe during the pandemic. With the installation of bottle filling stations however, we can turn on the new bottle filling stations because these are much safer since people will refill glasses or bottles in a touchless manner. The stations also offer chilled, filtered water and allow users to fill a reusable bottle in a much safer manner,” said Joe Rodella, WLU’s chief operations officer. Rodella oversees the Physical Plant which is responsible for the installation of the new stations.
“We are also providing environmentally friendly water bottles carrying both SWN and WLU logos to encourage campus to reduce plastic waste since students and employees can refill these logo bottles over and over rather than purchase new bottles of water,” said Zambito-Hill.
Some of the stations also count how many plastic bottles were saved by giving a count on the usage.
The school has 16 bottle-filling stations in total and these will soon be installed in all administrative and academic buildings.