By Emily Leayman
When Chelsea Trout, president of the Environmental Action Club, was a freshman, there was only one water refill station. Today, in Trout’s last semester, that number has expanded to 13.
About two to three weeks ago, the newest station appeared in Boehm Science Building.
“I think it’s awesome,” Trout said. “We’re a small group of people on a campus of 10,000 and we got something done.”
EAC, in cooperation with the Take Back the Tap project, has worked for a few years to install water refill stations around campus. The club works with Facilities Services to place the stations in buildings. The ultimate goal of the project is to get a water refill station on every floor of every building on campus.
Water refill stations allow those on campus to refill their water bottles, encouraging use of reusable over plastic bottles. Trout believes that students prefer refilling bottles because it saves them money. By using reusable bottles, they do not have to spend the money to buy a plastic bottle. Trout said students are becoming supportive of the filling stations, but it often takes them a while to realize they are in the campus buildings. Some students do notice them and tell EAC members. The students give locations of where they would like to see filling stations as well.
EAC spread awareness for Take Back the Tap through pamphlets, information tables and bake sales, and Earth Day, their most important event. The 2014 Earth Day at KU took place Monday, April 14 from 11 to 3 on the MSU lawn. The club attended the Power Shift conference in Pittsburgh in the fall, and Trout hopes the club will continue to attend conferences like it. The club does petitions and often gives out or sells reusable water bottles. The club looks for new students to get involved at Accepted Student Days, since many of its members are graduating within the next two semesters.
Many members major in the sciences, but they encourage participants in the clubs and causes outside of that academic area.
“If anyone cares about the environment, we want their help,” Trout said. “We want to reach out to the entire campus to get their help.”