by Dalton Karwacki
Students may have seen at least some of them in buildings scattered around campus: small, black water-cooler-like devices situated in unobtrusive areas. They may even have wondered what exactly these devices were doing there.
The Quench water bottle refill stations are here to provide people with cool, clean, refreshing water while minimizing Rider’s carbon dioxide emissions. They are part of Rider’s efforts to be more environmentally minded in “going green.”
Melissa Greenberg, director of Sustainability at Rider, described how the decision to add the stations was reached.
“It started with Cranberry Fest, where I was handing out ‘Broncs Go Green’ water bottles,” Greenberg said. “Eventually, we ran out, and I was walking around trying to find a convenient place to fill mine. Then I heard about this company called Quench, and that they gave free trials.”
Greenberg explained that she received permission to get four machines installed: two on the Lawrenceville campus and two at Westminster.
The machines were introduced on Oct. 22, National Campus Sustainability Day. The response was overwhelmingly positive. People said that the machines were clean and had a refreshing taste. The response paved the way for more of the machines to be added to common spaces around campus.
On the Lawrenceville campus, there are Quench stations in Moore Library, Memorial Hall, the Bart Luedeke Center, the Student Recreation Center, Sweigart Hall, the Science Building, the Fine Arts building, Maurer Gym and the Admissions building.
At Westminster, there are stations in the Student Center and Talbott Library.
The Quench stations do not use bottles like a conventional cooler. They draw water directly from existing municipal water, which is then filtered, cleaned and chilled before being dispensed.
Dr. Laura Hyatt, a biology professor who is an active member of Rider’s sustainability effort, shared some surprising facts about the environmental impact the stations have. The stations save oil by cutting down on the amount of plastic bottles required, since one gallon of oil is used to make 41 water bottles. The lowered demand for bottles also decreases the number of trucks required to bring bottled water to campus, especially because burning one gallon of gas generates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Also, Hyatt said, it is much cheaper for people to use the stations. The water is more thoroughly tested, ensuring that it is healthier to drink.
Plus, “the water tastes great,” Hyatt said.
The amount of CO2 generated by the operation of all 12 Quench stations combined is 8.4 pounds per day, less than half the amount created by burning a gallon of gas.
So far, the Rider community’s response to the Quench stations seems to be positive. People say they love the convenience afforded by the machines, as well as the quality of water they dispense.
“I think the Quench stations are great,” said freshman John Vassos. “I like to fill up my water bottle before class sometimes. It’s a lot cheaper than buying new water bottles all the time and it’s better than filling up the bottle with tap water.”
However, not everyone was as positive.
“It wasn’t advertised enough,” said sophomore Kaitlyn Compari. “I didn’t know that they were installed or what they were for.”
Sophomore Daniel Pinkston had a similar response.
“They only gave out the Broncs Go Green water bottles once, so it would be easier if they had more of them,” Pinkston said. “I haven’t gotten the chance to use it, because I never have a water bottle, but I would like to.”