Student Senate approves funding for new water bottle filling stations

The Student Office of Sustainability’s Green Fund will pay for new stations


Photo by Lindsey Ambrosius

The new water bottle filling stations will be located in McPhee Strength and Performance Center, Haas Fine Arts Center, Crest Wellness Center, Hilltop Center and the Human Sciences & Services building.

Story by Rachyl Houterman, News Editor

Student Senate passed a bill Monday to fund eight new water bottle filling stations and filters around campus through the Student Office of Sustainability’s (SOS) Green Fund.

Those new stations would be located in McPhee Strength and Performance Center, Haas Fine Arts Center, Crest Wellness Center, Hilltop Center and the Human Sciences & Services building. Installation will occur over summer 2018. Total funding would equate to $30,000.

“This bill meets a lot of campus need for water bottle filling infrastructure,” Kristina Haideman, the SOS director, said.

Additionally, there is a plan to purchase water bottles for all first-year students through the Green Fund, Haideman said.

According to the bill, these new filling stations would aid in reducing plastic water bottle usage and promote reusable water bottles among students.

The bill passed in a placard vote.

Funding a Makerspace

Senate also approved a bill for SOS to use Green Fund dollars to pay for tools and equipment for a new makerspace on campus.

Makerspaces are places where students or people of a community can gather to create, learn or invent with tools such as 3D printers, software and physical tools that permit community members to engage in design they otherwise wouldn’t be able to create on their own.

The new makerspace will be located in the basement of McIntyre Library. The Green Fund will pay $14,739.38 for the equipment and tools to be utilized in the space.

Senator Cianna Swanson said she thinks public universities have steered away from craftsmanship and believes this makerspace will bring back the opportunity for students to experience hands-on learning.

“When you think of a public university, you think of it having opportunities you wouldn’t find in any other place, and you should be able to come in here with a goal of doing one thing and being able to try new things,” Swanson said. “And I think this gives many students who wouldn’t think they would enjoy working with these tools the opportunity to try them.”

Senator Thomas Rocque said he found similarities in the makerspace to the campus slogan of “finding your [AND].” Though he said he personally won’t utilize it, he thinks other students will benefit from it.

“Who am I to stop someone else from finding that as their [AND]?” Rocque said. “And that’s what this university — it’s what we talk about, it’s what we advertise: ‘Find your [AND]’ and if that’s somebody’s [AND] then we need to do it.”

The bill passed in a roll call vote.

Supporting institutional funding for Blugold Beginnings

Senate passed a resolution in support of increasing institutional funding for Blugold Beginnings.

Blugold Beginnings relies primarily on funding from grants and donors to operate. Tours for fifth grade students have been canceled due to lack of funding, according to the resolution.

Blugold Beginnings is a program meant to “educate and inspire students, especially underrepresented, low income or first generation students, to believe that a post-secondary education is important, attainable, and available at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and other institutions,” according to its website.

The resolution calls for allocating the additional revenue generated from the recent nonresident undergraduate and graduate tuition increases towards Blugold Beginnings.

Several senators spoke out in support for the resolution, citing their own positive experiences with Blugold Beginnings. One such senator was Bailey Roche, who referred to Blugold Beginnings as “life changing and inspirational.”

“If you sit down and you get to talk to Jodi (Thesing-Ritter), or Dennis (Beale), or Karen (Dominguez), or Khang (Meng Her), about what they do and why they do it, they’re so filled with passion and drive for every single student here,” Roche said.

Branden Yates, the chief of staff, voiced his support for the resolution, arguing it is a good way to put “checks and balances” on the administration to keep its promise of using the additional revenue from the tuition increases toward the university’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) goals.

“I think the conversation does not stop here,” Yates said. “I think next year and the years after, we need to continue to push on the administration to put more money toward Blugold Beginnings.”

The resolution passed in a voice vote.

Other news

  • Nick Webber, the student body vice president, introduced a bill to amend the Student Senate constitution to include UW-Barron County. The bill will be voted on next week.
  • Finance Commission introduced a special allocation bill for the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. The bill will be voted on next week.