Fountains reduce plastic waste

By Fatima Carrasco, Advocate Staff

By the time students had returned from spring break on April 8, both the Library and Learning Resource Center and the Student and Administration Building had swapped out their old water fountains for up-to-date, more efficient models.

Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King had the vision of installing new and improved water fountains all around campus. His goal was to install fountains that allow students to refill their own containers to promote reusing bottles and saving plastic.

“They tell us how many water bottles we are saving,” King said.

Like any project, this requires money and support from the community and at more than $4,500 per fountain, funding will be a crucial component of completing the project on campus.

In an attempt to engage everyone in the campus community, King reached out to the Associated Student Union, which has money available from the $5 Student Activity Fee collected from each Contra Costa College student upon registration for fall and spring semesters.

However, when the modernization plan was proposed to the ASU, the ASU Board voted not to invest in the project.

According to ASU President Rebecca Hernandez, “The ASU created an online SurveyMonkey (survey) to hear exactly what the student body wants or needs and over 100 students responded. No one expressed concerns about water fountains.”

Student senators used the 100-student survey as an unofficial snapshot of issues the entire student body deems important in order to assess what students want the ASU to do with the funds from the fee.

ASU Vice President Lacie Brown said, “We, on the board, try our hardest to reach all of our students and to provide our campus with what the students want. Our main priorities were the most frequently asked-for items.”

The ASU decided to opt out of helping pay for the new efficient water fountains and instead put some of that money into recruiting artists and entrepreneurs to speak directly to students on campus.

As for the newly installed fountains, with the help of CCC counselor Luci Castruita, King was able to contact people willing to help by donating bits of money to support the project.

In the Library, King said the Sustainability Committee and Friends of the Library funded the new fountain.

Castruita helped find people who donated money for the SA Building fountains. The work in both buildings was done by local contractors from the Robert Jackson Plumbing Company who King said “are very good at their job and have very reasonable prices.”

No additional funding for new water fountains in the Applied Arts Building were available, so replacements of those fountains will remain on hold until funding is found for them.