Students and staff at College of the North Atlantic Corner Brook campus will be getting healthier drinking water soon.
Student Jaclyn Pope was taking the College Arts-Science Transition program at the Grand Falls-Windsor CNA campus two years ago. Simultaneously, new Brita hydration stations were being installed by the campus administration. Pope finished the program and departed before the installation of the units was complete. She arrived at the Corner Brook campus of CNA last year to study Environmental Technology, and has spent time convincing Corner Brook campus administration to look into purchasing some units.
“In my eyes, students should not pay $1.75 for water when it should be free in a public government building,” Pope said.
At the Corner Brook campus, the water fountains are ringed with grungy green biofilm. A copper reaction gives it a blue tinge, and rust is forming on their surface due to coffee being dumped into them. The Prince Phillip Drive campus in St. John’s does not even have water fountains. They are boarded up.
A typical water fountain at Corner Brook CNA campus. Pictured here is a combination of green biofilm and copper reaction (bluish tinge). Some fountains are also ringed with rust.
“Joining student council gave me the ability and the knowledge to attack the problem,” said Pope, who became President of CNA Corner Brook’s Student Council in Fall 2012.
Her biggest question was “why not?” Why aren’t hydration stations being installed?
Pope did research, and uncovered some numbers.
- There are approximately 901 people on the Corner Brook campus every day.
- 36 five gallon jugs are used by administration per month.
- 200 individual water bottles are used a week.
- 250 pop and juice plastic bottles are used a week.
- Vending machines stats are pending.
When the hydration stations are installed, 7632 plastic water bottles will be diverted from the landfill each year. When pop and juice bottles over a 9-month period are calculated into the equation, the total saved jumps to 9000. Cash-wise, students (over a 9-month period) and administration (over a 12-month period), can save a total of $15,408. With juice and pop bottles, the savings jump to $35,250.
22 post-secondary institutions across Canada does not allow plastic water bottles. 10 billion plastic water bottles end up in landfills every year.
“Brita has been a great help, and have been giving out brochures and pamphlets, ” said Pope. Manufactured by the Haws Corporation, the Brita Hydration Stations are advertised as being touch-free hygienic water dispensers that allow the benefits of healthy water without the waste and cost of bottles.
The student council will fund the units. There will be 3 to 4 installed at a cost of $4000 each. CNA will install and maintain them, and will purchase future filters ($94.00 every 2-3 months). Pope met with administration, and they were receptive. She is waiting to hear if Public Transportation and Works can install them. “If they can’t,” said Pope, “we will be asking for quotes from outside contractors.”
Pope acknowledged that Corner Brook Campus Administrator Bernard Stratton has been very receptive of the project, and checked into the budget for maintenance and upkeep of the units.
The CNA-SU will be amping up the campaign provincially across all 17 campuses next year. The campaign name,“I’d Tap That”, was coined by Bay St. George Campus Student President Stacey Blackwood. The campaign has the backing of the Canadian Federation of Students. All campuses are putting out petitions, with the goal of 3000 signatures provincially. The petitions will be submitted to CNA Executive President Ann Marie Vaughan.
All NL student unions participated in a roundtable with Advanced Education and Skills Minister Joan Shea in February. CNA-SU President Camelia Penney brought up the need for access to free, clean tap water during the meeting. Later that month Pope met with Shea and Premier Kathy Dunderdale to speak with them about the initiative, and Shea put it on her agenda.
Pope said that if anyone wants to help out during the campaign, her email is email@example.com.