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Grant Recipients Focus on Water Sustainability

Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Daniel Budmen '15 and Rebecca Greiff '14 have formed the HWS Drink Local Campaign in an effort to eliminate plastic water bottle use and promote the use of reusable water bottles on campus. Rachel Newcomb '15 has created a rain barrel project, "Store the Storm," in collaboration with the Finger Lakes Institute. The three are the first recipients of the Carver and DeLaney Family Environmental Studies Endowment and each received $1,000 grant funding from the endowment to use toward their projects.

In a continuing effort to support student environmental initiatives, the endowment was established to provide funding and seek to encourage student sustainability projects on campus and in local communities. Grant funding, up to $1,000, can be used to support environmentally focused projects aimed at improving the HWS campus and surrounding communities. The HWS Office of Sustainability and the Finger Lakes Institute work together to administer funding and ensure projects align with the Colleges' sustainability commitment and goals.

Among the goals of the HWS Drink Local campaign is to increase awareness of the resource intensive methods used to creating disposable plastic water bottles, as well as provide clean and convenient filtered water refill stations for students to use throughout campus. Budmen and Greiff hope the filtered water refill stations will act as an incentive for people to carry and use a reusable water bottle, while being aware of the positive consequences of their choices.

The Drink Local Campaign initially began at Princeton University through student initiative at the Office of Sustainability. Since 2009, Princeton has given away complimentary Nalgene bottles to all incoming first-year students as an extra incentive.

Budmen and Greiff have started to design a Drink Local Campaign logo for a reusable Nalgene bottle, modeled after Princeton's original Drink Local icon. The logo will include an image of the campus map marked with the locations of the refill stations, making it easy and convenient for students to refill their water bottles.

Each water bottle refill station costs approximately $1,800, and the campaign received $9,500 in funding from the Hobart and William Smith Student Government and an additional $1,000 in funding from the Carver and DeLaney Family Environmental Studies Endowment. Budmen and Greiff hope to have the water bottle refill stations purchased and installed and the water bottles designed and ordered before the incoming first-year classes arrives on campus this fall. The effort of the Drink Local Campaign aligns with the goals of the Campus Greens club this spring and the theme of sustainable water use and awareness for the upcoming Earth Week events.

The objective of Newcomb's Store the Storm program is to provide a simple way to capture and recycle rainwater that would otherwise seep into a house's basement, be lost to runoff or be diverted into a nearby lake or stream. To collect water washing off a building roof, the rain barrel is placed underneath the gutter downspout, with a screen gate to filter out any unwanted debris and insects. One barrel collects up to 55 gallons of water and contains a gravity fed spigot, making it easy to fill watering cans or attach a garden hose.

The rain barrel's water can be used for a variety of uses, including watering a garden, indoor plants or washing a car. Not only does a rain barrel help save money on water bills, but it also benefits the environment. Rainwater tends to pick up eroded soil, bacteria and other chemicals and trash when flowing over the land, and by collecting rainwater in the rain barrel, it prevents these materials from ending up in nearby streams and lakes. It also helps prevent already overwhelmed sewage systems from overflowing and polluting nearby waterways.

Newcomb has been a driving force in the project with FLI after learning that the program was not going to be continued through this year. Through her involvement and the generous support of the endowment, Newcomb and the FLI are able to continue their work with the Store the Storm project. They are also partnering with the Arts Experience Festival and the Roots and Shoots organizations to bring children into the water collection effort by giving them the opportunity to paint some of the barrels. At the end of the semester, Newcomb hopes to have several rain barrels installed around campus to spread awareness about saving water and show an example of small, easy steps to make a different for the environment.

The two student projects funded through the generous support of the Carver and DeLaney Family Environmental Studies Endowment are helping enhance the sustainability goals and initiatives of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges community, while continuing their commitment to a more environmentally friendly campus.

For more information about the Carver and DeLaney Family Environmental Studies Endowment Grant and other funding opportunities, please visit, https://www.hws.edu/academics/envirostudies/research.aspx

The photo above features Rachel Newcomb '15.

 


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