Post Bottled Water Free Campus

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

girl, dumpster, watergun

I had a scare a while back in the form of a mysterious phone call...

Background: I never get calls at work, mostly because I have a strong distaste for talking on the phone and do all my contacting by email or in person but also because I don’t have a work extension nor a phone plan on my cell (hell, I still have a 519 number from home). This equalled my terror when Jon’s voice floated over the cubicle wall to inform me that someone was on the phone for me. In fact, I thought he was joking. Answering the phone, I had my wavering, stranger voice on to hear a man inquire about a report I had written on Water Fountains on campus.

I relaxed a little as he explained that he worked for the Green Education Council of Canada and was interested in setting up a meeting between myself and their CEO to discuss post bottled water ban tactics. ASLDFHEJFKGHY^N%$%[insert excitement here] It just seemed like a great opportunity to showcase the University’s progress as a bottled water free campus; and even though I was not involved in the banning of bottled water (before my time as a Sustainability Coordinator), I have aided in the post-ban strategy. Thankfully, as it was this in particular that the council is interested in exploring.

For those of you who didn’t know, the University of Ottawa became the first bottled water free university in Ontario in September 2010. Since then, the university has invested hundreds of thousands in order to revitalize fountains and keep the campus community satisfied with water access and quality. Where do I fit into all of this? Well, I am an expert water assesmentress (it’s a word, I swear). Basically, I have spent the last two years conducting and writing the water fountain assessment which involves visiting water fountains on campus and taking care of them. I guess my work and Jon’s sweet infographictizing (another real word, look it up) got us noticed :D

Anyhow, after meeting with their CEO, Jon agreed to put me on the project of creating a post ban document that will serve for Canadian (who knows who else) campuses as a strategy guide. It’s all pretty exciting in my enviro geek opinion. Except, Jon seems to think I will be contacting other universities by phone to get input [insert fearful twitches here]. Gulp* time to face my phone anxieties…

~merissa, campus sustainability coordinator
photo credit - kira lamont

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