Medical laboratory science major Baylee Hull leads water bottle filling stations initiative in FSA and FHS
According to figures from The Guardian, 20,000 plastic water bottles are bought every second. This number is expected to jump by 20 percent in 2021, as high demand is driven by an “on the go” culture. Another shocking statistic is that only one out of every six bottles people buy is recycled. This translates to U.S landfills overflowing with plastics that take up to 1,000 years to decompose and pose a deadly environmental hazard.
This was the motivation behind Baylee Hull’s water bottle filling station initiative, which replaces the drinking fountains, located in Felmley Science Annex (FSA) and Femley Hall of Science (FHS), where Hull is a medical laboratory science student. This project was a challenge to go beyond talking about environmental sustainability to lead by example. Hull not only proved her project to be promoting environmental stewardship, but it was also aimed at eradicating the common issue of spilled water on the floor at water fountains, which in itself posed a risk to students, faculty, and workers at FHS and FSA.
Hull saw an opportunity to provide a solution to a problem and independently worked on this project, provided the cost required for replacing the units, the logistics involved, proving that this was a feasible and beneficial project. Hull’s biggest challenge was presenting the request to the Sustainability Committee. “Knowing I had to present this information to them made me very anxious. I’ve always had a fear of public speaking particularly when I am the only speaker,” Hull said. However, amidst being scared and nervous for the presentation, she practiced the presentation several times with Beverly Barham coaching her along the way. “In the end, the Sustainability Committee was so welcoming throughout the whole process and they definitely helped my fear of presenting fade away,” she said.
When asked what changes she had noticed since the implementation of the project, Hull had this to say: “Every time I use or walk by a water bottle fill up the fountain, I notice the number of plastic water bottles saved keeps increasing. I have overheard the faculty in FSA and FHS talking about how better the accessibility is and what a change it has made for their work days. Students have also commented on how easy it is to fill their water bottles now and refillable water bottles are often the container of choice for both faculty and students.”
Hull believes that the same issues she presented in this project apply to many buildings not just on campus but in the community as well. She hopes this project serves as a role model for others and together we can be better stewards of the environment. “I hope the replacement of the old water fountains with the newly accessible bottle fountains happens everywhere on campus. I think it’s a great way to send a message to all of those on campus to help save the environment. I know reusable water bottles are everywhere on campus and these new fountains help promote that message of environmental awareness,” she said.
In promoting environmental sustainability this month, College of Applied Science and Technology is very proud of Baylee Hull for pushing such a note-worthy initiative. To stay updated with CAST follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.