School considers adding water bottle fountains

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By Isabelle Guillaume, staff writer

A dream proposed by students four years ago is in the works as of this year. Assistant Principal of Organization Ms. Ellen Fee is considering a plan for installing water bottle filling stations for each floor in response to students’ concerns about the alarming lead levels found in Townsend Harris High School’s water supply. The stations would be retro-fitted on top of water fountains, if funds can be raised to do so.

“With the problem of lead in our water, several people have brought up [this as an] alternative to using bottled water and to have those machines in because of the uncomfortability with using a water fountain, thinking that it might be unsafe,” commented Ms. Fee.

Each water bottle fountain costs about $950, and since the school wishes to build one for each floor, about $6,000 needs to be raised. “I’m eager to use as many fundraising sources as possible,” Ms. Fee stated. “The SU had wanted to help out with the purchase of those; so the SU dues—when people buy SU cards—would go towards that. Ticket sales from the Festival of Nations (FON) is another funding source, because we all drink a lot of water during FON. We’re looking for other people like the PTA and alumni [who] could also help out.”

The water dispensers would be targeted at students who not only wish to drink water but also need to refill their bottles throughout the day. “Water is a must for me,” junior Joanna Weng explained. “I bring a bottle of water every day, but seventeen ounces of water isn’t enough for an eight-hour school day, or even longer if you participate in extracurricular activities. Being on three teams last year, I drank a lot of fountain water.”

Like Joanna, many students participate in physically-exerting activities after school, such as clubs, SING!, FON, and teams. Therefore, refilling stations sound practical to some. “People don’t really have to worry about bringing multiple water bottles [to school],” remarked sophomore Kelvin Yip. “This is definitely more eco-friendly and a cheaper option than the vending machine’s $1.50 water bottles.”

Although not all the money has been raised, the promise to build these refilling stations is certainly not empty. Ms. Fee expressed her excitement, “I’m ready to go right now.”

Photo by Matthew Neil