Audrey Clayton –
Returning students will notice a few upgrades across campus this semester. New water fountains have been put in Parker, Baxter, Caine, and there are two in Bruner. Now there is talk of installing ice machines in dorms as well.
Everyone has probably seen at least one of the new water fountains as they wandered around campus. The shiny fountains have water bottle refill stations and fancy electronic counters that tell you how much water is being saved.
Many students have been enjoying these new fountains and appreciate how easy it makes getting water. In fact, the new fountains have had such an effect that soda sales have already decreased.
Another great thing about the fountains is that they make the campus more eco-friendly. Students like junior Melissa Tallent, who help bring these new fountains to campus, think it’s a great initiative that keeps students from having to constantly buy water bottles.
In fact, water and soda bottle waste has gone down now that many students have switched to plastic bottles that can easily be refilled. The new IC Store in Lincoln Hall is even selling refillable bottles for students to use on campus.
These new fountains were funded by the Student Senate after it was brought to their attention at the end of the last school year by a former student, now in grad school in the quad cities, who had seen them on another campus.
President of Student Senate and IC senior Jovanny Nava said that the big idea for their decision-making was “Why not us?” If another campus has something great for students like these fountains, why can’t IC have some too? Student Senate discussed this and agreed the new fountains would be a great addition to campus.
With approved funding, and the help of Director of Facilities Al Dillow, who was as enthusiastic about the idea as the students, they got to work. They came up with a budget of $15,000 but only ended up using about $12,000 for the five fountains, meaning there is still money for more.
In addition to more fountains, there has been a rumor about ice machines being put into the dorms across campus for students to use.
Nava confirmed that such a plan was in the works, but the trick was in figuring out how to do it without being too costly. As he put it, “Being the oldest campus in the state has its drawbacks too.”
To elaborate on that the older dorms, some of them from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and although having been remodeled, they are still the oldest dorms on campus. For these dorms, to put in ice machines in them would mean having to rework the water systems in order reroute how it gets to the machines.
The other problem would be where the unused ice goes after it melts in the machine, which needs to have a way out.
These factors make it a costly project but the Student Senate is optimistic about finding a way. One possibility mentioned by Nava was to put an ice machine in Bruner where everyone could have access to it, but more details on this is still to come as discussions between the Senate and Facilities continue.
So, ice machines are still a little ways off, but in the meantime keep enjoying those new fountains featuring water bottle-filling stations, courtesy of your Student Senate!
Audrey Clayton, from Manchester, Illinois, is a junior majoring in Communications. Audrey is a writer for The Rambler.