Filling up a water bottle on the University of San Francisco campus will become easier this fall after dozens of existing water fountains are upgraded to encourage the use of reusable bottles.
The upgrades come as the result of a three-year campaign by students on the school’s “green team” to get the campus to stop selling single-use water bottles in cafeterias and school stores.
“Students are finally getting it,” said Seth Wachtel, a professor and green team adviser. “[Single-use] water bottle prevalence grew in the last five years, but now its going the other way, which is a really great thing.”
The big victory for the USF green team came when the campus’ only meal provider, Bon Appetit, agreed to stop selling water bottled in plastic, according to the school’s website.
Moving from single-use bottled water to reusable bottles is one of many projects the green team has taken on, according Wachtel.
The student group helped persuade Bon Appetit to only use fair-trade coffee, and it was instrumental in starting recycling programs and a campus garden.
To prepare for the lack of bottled water for purchase, the school purchased kits that would convert existing fountains and add a second spout to allow for easy filling, USF spokeswoman Ann-Marie Devine said.
The exact number of fountains on campus is unknown, but Devine said the project is ongoing. The cost also is unknown.
Two fountains have already been upgraded, including one in the School of Business and Professional Studies building and another in the Koret Health and Recreation Center.
Wachtel said retrofitting existing fountains is less expensive than buying new ones. It’s environmentally conscious and showcases the cleanliness of San Francisco, he said.
“There’s no reason we should be buying bottled water,” Wachtel said. “It’s probably not as good as the tap.”