Campus / News / May 2, 2013

KARES looks to send message in a bottle

At the end of what was a busy month for them, Knox Advocates for Recyling and Environmental Support celebrated the new drinking fountain in Seymour Union on Sunday.

The Knox Advocates for Recycling and Environmental Support gives out free snow cones and popcorn Sunday, April 28 to celebrate the water bottle fountain in Seymour Union. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

The Knox Advocates for Recycling and Environmental Support gives out free snow cones and popcorn Sunday, April 28 to celebrate the water bottle fountain in Seymour Union. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

For an hour, the club stood next to the water fountain, which was installed by the Sustainability Fund about two months ago. Members of the club played ukulele, shared trivia about the reduction of plastic water bottles, sold t-shirts and offered free popcorn and snow cones.

“There’s a huge issue of people buying plastic water bottles … so it’s a way to reduce plastic use and to get people into the idea that it’s socially acceptable to have a plastic reusable water bottle and it’s acceptable to drink from a water fountain,” freshman Jessica Robinson said
Robinson is involved in KARES and was vocal in the planning of the event.

“Too many people I know buy plastic water bottles because they’re worried about the water in the sink. It’s the same thing,” she said.

The event attracted several students walking through Seymour Union, who appeared to be equally excited about the installation of the new drinking fountain.

“It’s really important to campus. I was hoping they’d put more in so I don’t have to walk all the way over here,” freshman Angela McNeal said. “I think that if more students continue to use it and see that it’s a vital part of campus, they may put some new ones in different parts of campus.”

McNeal was not the only passerby to express an interest in seeing more drinking fountains like the one in Seymour Union, which offers students an option of drinking directly from the fountain or filling up their reusable water bottles.

“I use reusable water bottles anyway, and having the water bottle filler is really convenient. I would love to see one in every building,” sophomore Alanna Toomey said.

The event was originally supposed to include an attempt to set the world record for the longest line to fill a reusable water bottle, but logistical issues prevented this from happening. KARES hopes to try again in the future.

“It’s to get people more aware of the fact that you should be refilling water bottles rather than buying plastic water bottles that end up most of the time in a landfill,” junior and KARES member Marie Anderson said. “It’s way better to reduce your waste than to recycle. A lot of people don’t want to drink tap water, so they buy bottled water, but this water is just as good.”

Robinson shared this sentiment and appeared excited about raising awareness.

“It’s something like this that starts small and grows into something bigger. Every day is Earth Day,” she said.

Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a senior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. She started working for TKS as a freshman and subsequently served as managing editor, co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of four awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. She won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize in 2015 and 2014 and the Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism in 2014. She has interned at FILTER Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WGIL radio and the Virginian-Pilot.

Twitter: @KateMishkin

Tags:  bottled water bubbler earth month kares popcorn snow cones water bottles water fountain

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