COVID Water Fountains: What Pushes ASW to Make Environmentally-Conscious Decisions?

By Zofia Ciolek and Fiona Haze

Among the many changes that students noticed when coming back to ASW for the 2020-2021 academic school year, the old water fountains had been replaced with Murdock (H₂O to go!) water fountains. 

A new water fountain, hard at work providing water. Photo by Fiona Haze.

According to Mr. Young (the Finance and Operations Director at ASW), the decision to purchase new water fountains “started in May in connection with COVID mitigation plans for preparing the facilities for the 2020-21 schol year.” Still, changing the water fountains for newer ones was already in the school’s future plans, with COVID only helping with speeding up this process. 

It turns out that it was a combination of environmental and practical demands that was behind the decision to purchase the equipment. The new water fountains make it easier to “deliver water quickly and effectively, so that reusable water bottles can be used by everyone,” said Mr. Young. Additionally, they help provide a healthier environment through easy consumption of water and “reducing the consumption of plastic water bottles.” 

The ones responsible for purchasing and deciding the amount of water fountains to be purchased was the School Director and Mr. Young.

According to Mr. Young, once the decision was made, a “bid process under the procedure defined in the Board Policy” began. The quantity was decided upon by “replacing all the old water fountains and adding additional units in the areas of the cafeteria and annex gym,” said Mr. Young. 

Maya S. (12), one of the current leaders of the Environmental Club at ASW, said that she believes that the water fountains are a “good addition to the school, since they are covid friendly but also more environmentally friendly.” 

However, she states that the environmental club has talked about water fountains and the possibility of replacing them before. “It’s a little disappointing that it’s taken a few years and a global pandemic to make this change, but nevertheless, I’m glad it was done,” she adds. 

According to Mr. Young, the installation of the new water fountains was sped up by the challenges posed by COVID regulations. The school’s environmental club had been long calling for a solution to the old water fountains and the less environmentally friendly water jugs, which are now replaced by the new water fountains.

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