ASG discusses senate elections, water bottle refill stations

Senate approves $12,000 for new water bottle refill stations around campus

Allegheny Student Government’s fifth meeting of the module approved plans for the water bottle refill initiative and encouraged participation in cabinet and senate elections.

With Director of Sustainability  Kelly Boulton as guest speaker, ASG’s general assembly commenced with Boulton’s address at 7:34 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30, via Zoom.

Boulton started by providing some history regarding the water bottle refill initiative. 

“About a decade ago there was a big push to ban bottled water on campuses,” Boulton said. “Back then it was decided that the best way to reduce the waste associated with bottled water was to educate students and to also to improve the infrastructure.”

Boulton then explained that it was decided to shift water fountains on campus to filtered water refill stations in tandem with other steps that were taken.

“We also started giving every incoming student a stainless steel water bottle that they could use around campus along with information about where these (bottles) could be used,” Boulton said.

Boulton mentioned that COVID-19 interrupted this practice and so the recent incoming students were not given bottles.

“Over the years we have transitioned about one-third of the water fountains on campus to filtered refill stations,” Boulton said. “We prioritize the placement of these (stations) based on the impact they will have on students and their equity.”

Boulton explained that the initiative started by installing a refill station in every academic building so that each student would have the opportunity to access it.  Then, at least one refill station was installed in every residence hall.

Boulton then urged ASG to collaborate with Physical Plant in the initiative.

“If ASG is willing to fund (refill stations), I will need to know how many can be purchased and where they will be installed,” Boulton said.

The estimated cost of purchasing and installing one station is around $1,500, according to Boulton.

Director of Finance Noah Tart, ’22, proposed a multi-year plan to fund the refill station initiative. The plan will look to allocate $12,000 per year from ASG’s student action fund toward the initiative. 

“Since they cost about $1,500 I think we should spend around $12,000 from the fund each year,” Tart said. “ASG would commit to (funding) eight water bottle stations every year.”

Vice-President of the Class of 2023 Lucas Biniewski raised a motion to approve the budgetary allotment for water bottle refill stations and was seconded by Senator Bridget Hayes, ’23. The motion passed unanimously.

Director of Communications and Press Bree Gray, ’23, commenced her report by talking about her initiative to distribute masks to the campus community.

“We’re probably going to be distributing them through a tabling event,” Gray said. 

Gray reported that the masks will be distributed sometime in April and that health and safety regulations must be figured out before any distribution takes place.

“I’m scheduling a meeting with Dr. Gabrielle Morrow (of the Allegheny College Health Agency) to figure out how we’re going to make this work to ensure that we are being safe and that also we are handing these out in a safe manner,” Gray said.

Director of Diversity and Inclusion Peter Alegre, ’23, followed by reporting that he has been setting up meetings regarding his community fridge initiative.

Alegre also talked about his intentions to create a food insecurity survey.

Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs Willy Walker, ’22, commenced his report by thanking ASG for the commitment to the water bottle refill initiative.

“A thousand times thank you to you all for getting us these water bottle machines,” Walker said.

Walker then asked ASG to start considering where the water bottle refill stations will be placed.

Walker also discussed his intention to push forward with his paper recycling initiative in collaboration with The Campus.

The meeting adjourned at 8:36 p.m.