Since Merced College began installing refillable water stations at the Merced and Los Banos campuses, approximately 32,123 water bottles have been saved from ending up in landfills.

The College, which joined with the Merced County Public Health Department to install refillable water stations and increase access to water, has placed seven stations on the Merced campus and one at the Los Banos Campus.

Caption for Photo Above: Student Cassandra Maldonado refills her water bottle at the water station located in the Learning Resources Center.

The project was made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Partnerships to Improve Community Health initiative. Student Health Services nurse Donya Avila and counselor Jill Henningsgaard-Vierra, along with the Student Services Division and Foods and Nutrition professor Michelle Pecchenino worked together to establish water station locations and formed the education plan.

Last August, an informational presentation regarding sugary beverages and water consumption was made available to Foods and Nutrition students by Claudia Sandoval, health education specialist from the Public Health Department. The goal of the presentation was to educate and engage students on this campaign. Further information on water and the effects of sugary beverages was provided to students during Club Rush week.

The Youth Leadership Institute provided a spokesperson training where several ASMC representatives participated. This training provided best practices on how to frame a message, identify an audience, and meet with key stakeholders when promoting or advocating for an effort such as this one.

So far, eight refillable water stations have been installed, providing students with chilled filtered water. Each water station has a running total of the number of
water bottles that have been saved. The current conservation count of water bottles for each water refilling station is: Administration Building: 1,600, Allied Health Center: 1,739, Learning Resource Center: 6,537, Lesher Building 2nd Floor: 1,839, Lesher Building 3rd Floor: 793, Fitness Lab: 3,045, Cafeteria: 13,697, Los Banos: 2873.

This article originally appeared in the Campus Digest, April 2017 issue.

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