by Simone Tharkur.
Touch free, hygienic, and completely free, hydration stations are winning over the pallets and pockets of college students nationwide. “I think it’s a great deviation from fountain water. The water’s fresh and I like the way it tastes,” says Paul Dedewo, a MCA major at CCNY.
Like Dedewo, both students and faculty have given the stamp of approval to the new technology.
CCNY was one of the first colleges to employ the hydration station and has installed three throughout campus. The first station popped up in the Marshak building over a year ago, followed by one in the North Academic Center (NAC) and finally the Steinman building. Elkay Manufacturers, who’ve designed their own version of the hydration station, reports that over 150 colleges and universities have followed the trend.
So what’s the big deal?
Hydration stations are sweeping the nations because of its long list of benefits. Each station is touch free, sensor activated, eco-friendly, healthy, and convenient – not to mention easy to use and FREE. The hydration stations have the ability to “reduce the consumption of as many as 36,000 16.9oz. bottles a year,” note company documents. This is important for the U.S. which uses over 30 billion single-use water bottles a year, of which less than 35 percent are recycled.
Students around CCNY find their own reasons to appreciate hydration stations. “Regular water fountains are dirty. You can find gum and spit in them, but the hydration stations are a lot more hygienic and keep toxins out,” says Eric Persaud, a senior and geology major at CCNY. “It’s also good for students on a tight budget that can bring bottles from home and refill it. It saves money.”
Experts such as Cheila Benavides, the sustainability coordinator and environmental analyst for CCNY, agree with Persaud. Benavides played a crucial role in getting the hydration stations on campus. “Although the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) tests our drinking water over 900 times a day to make sure it’s safe, we took an extra step and decided that we needed to add another filter which would eliminate the possibilities of bacteria and chemicals,” says the expert.
Benavides says she is happy to take part in CCNY’s sustainability commitment to stay green and adds that although there are only three stations on campus, “We have more ready and hope to install them soon, but there’s a lot of engineering behind it.”
Avid water drinkers at CCNY enjoy the perks of the hydration stations but don’t deny their faults. “I like the idea of hydration stations better than regular fountain water; it’s very clean and the water is cold all the time, but the lines to fill up can be long,” says Dalliana Toussaint, a CCNY English major. “The water pressure is not always consistent and should be serviced more frequently. Other than that it’s good.”
Minor glitches aside, students are happy to have them. Donika Rexhepi, a senior at CCNY, confesses, “it makes it hard to go back to regular water.”