Drinks on the House

Author: Rachel Novick

Hydration Station; Water Bottle Filling Station

In a huge step forward for campus sustainability, water bottle filling stations will be installed on the first floor of every residence hall on campus this summer. The filling stations will provide convenient filtered water and therefore reduce the purchase of bottled water on campus.

“Student Government is so grateful to the Office of Housing for their generous support of our initiative to implement Hydration Stations in the Notre Dame residence halls,” said Brett Rocheleau, Student Body President. “These Hydration Stations will not only provide cold, filtered water to every student on campus, but can also eliminate the waste of hundreds of thousands of single-use water bottles per year, helping further Notre Dame’s goal of becoming a more modern, sustainable university for the 21st Century.”

The Office of Housing is installing the filling stations as part of the improvements made to residence halls each summer. “We always hear complaints about water quality in the Hall Life surveys at the end of each year,” said Jeff Shoup, Director of Housing. “When Brett approached me with this idea, I realized it was a great opportunity to improve residential life on campus while benefiting the environment at the same time.”

Water bottle filling stations are becoming increasingly popular on college campuses across the country, part of an effort to reduce or even eliminate the use of bottled water. “Bottled water wastes a precious resource – water,” said Sara Brown in the Office of Sustainability. “It takes three liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water, while a billion people around the world lack access to safe drinking water at all. Bottled water production also uses up to 2,000 times the energy of producing tap water.”

Bottled water has gotten an increasingly bad rap during recent years, as new studies show that approximately 40% of bottled water is actually tap water, sold at an enormous profit, and that bottled water can contain a variety of unhealthy chemicals that are regulated in municipal tap water.

“The water on campus is completely safe to drink and, in fact, is tested more comprehensively than bottled water,” said Chip Farrell, Senior Environmental Specialist in the Utilities Department. “Filtering the water at the tap helps remove some of the taste issues, which are generally caused by hardness and the aging pipes in some buildings.”