Water Fountain inequality on campus

Nathan Turoff, Features Editor

Introduced to UNF back in 2013, anyone who has been on campus has probably seen these unique water fountains. 

A water fountain in the Fine Arts Center, photo by Nathan Turoff

These are Elkay EZ H20 purified water refillers. Often attached to a traditional water fountain, they can be found all over campus, providing students with an easy, hands-free way of refilling water bottles and other containers with clean and filtered water. The first ones were installed about eight years ago. However, while they are certainly plentiful across the main campus, there is a serious shortage of them in housing areas. 

Equipped with a display that reads how many plastic bottles of water have avoided being thrown away, they provide a great method for indicating how often each one is used. Across campus, the numbers do fluctuate slightly, but are generally similar in the tens or hundreds of thousands. The highest one was the gym with over 1.2 million.

However, these fountains are much less common in housing areas. For example, the 3 floors of Osprey hall are only serviced by one sole fountain on the ground floor. This appears unfair when compared with places on campus that are hardly visited by students, such as the 3rd floor of Osprey Commons, the building that houses the Osprey Cafe.

A water fountain on the 3rd floor of Osprey Commons,, displaying only a meager 112 bottles, photo by Nathan Turoff

Chances are that most students  haven’t even gone to the upper levels of Osprey Commons, unless they had an issue with dining. The 3rd floor is home to the Faculty Association and construction offices. Despite being there for almost 10 years, it has seen by far the lowest number of bottles saved, as shown in the above picture. The fountain itself also shows much less physical wear than other fountains on campus. Even the newly constructed pool complex has a fountain that, on the day of opening, already got more use.

This is contrasted even with Osprey Fountains, UNF’s newest dorm. Fountains residents are forced to rely on generic water fountains on each of the five floors. The only refillable style one is found in the lobby.

The only bottle station in Osprey Fountains, showing 205,082 bottles, photo by Nathan Turoff

Is it fair for students in housing that are forced to go far and wide to find clean water, all the while there are several places on-campus that surely do not need one, and are barely used? 


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