Maldonado Proposes a Water Fountain to be Installed in the Suites

Ella Wiebusch, News Editor

At Buena Vista University (BVU), students have the option of living in one of seven buildings, each with its pros and cons. Unfortunately for students living in suite-style dorms, one of the cons is the lack of access to clean drinking water. However, actions in the near future could change this. 

Alan Maldonado, student body president of BVU, hopes to use his platform to positively impact campus and enact change. This summer, Maldonado felt excited about the idea to create a proposal to put water fountains in the suites.  

“I got an email from residents saying how they’ve been trying to get water in the suites, but they couldn’t. And that’s actually the third time in two years that Student Senate has been asked to put a water fountain there,” said Maldonado. 

Student Kelsey Cheney has lived in the suites for two years and says it has been an extreme inconvenience not having water close by.  

“Not having a water fountain in the suites is very difficult and inconvenient. I always try to stay hydrated, especially during soccer season, but it’s hard to do so when I can only fill my water bottle up during the day when I am at classes or eating in the serve,” said Cheney. “I am a broke college student who would prefer not to buy a case of water every week as well; plastic water bottles are not good for the environment.”

Fellow classmate, Dana Mefferd, agrees. 

“Not having a water fountain on campus, or close to me, has impacted me because I tend to not drink as much water as I should and I turn to alternative beverages that may not be as healthy for me.” 

Maldonado aims to alleviate these concerns, explaining that every time Student Senate has asked the school to fund this project the school has cited a $13,000 maintenance cost to tear down walls and realign the pipes. 

Because of this financial barrier, Maldonado decided the proposal should include a request for BVU to pay for the construction. He cited items such as residents needing to go to other buildings for water and an inability to get water after midnight as reasons for needing a water fountain, acknowledging that it is a costly project at $13,000. 

Last week, Maldonado worked on planning his approach to the project. He had to think about all of the technicalities, the logistics, and the details to implement this; to send something through Student Senate you need to have a concrete plan to maximize the chances of approval. 

“Student Senate, with help from other organizations, will hopefully fundraise at least $5,000 in order to help the school pay for it. It’s a very ambitious goal to raise that much money, but I’m hoping it will turn into a year long thing,” said Maldonado. 

While the proposal does not currently have an official title, Maldonado hopes to pick up the name “Sweet Suite Water” for creativity purposes. As he connects with companies like Ben and Jerry’s and Hy-Vee to help with social campaigns, he will use that title. 

So what happens next? 

Since the proposal hasn’t actually gone through yet, one of the student senate senators will write a proposal to change the current law policy and counsel to establish a policy after it is written. After it is presented to Student Senate and is discussed, they are given a week to think about it, and then at the next meeting they may either approve or deny the request. 

“We are scheduled to hold back on this for now because we have a lot of interviews to go through,” said Maldonado. “But the proposal is done and it’s ready to present to the senators. After senators approve it, it starts going up the ladder through Dr. Ashley Farmer Hansen, Interim VP of Student Senate, all the way up to President’s Council. Depending on the policy, it depends how quickly it goes up but for now, we are just at the beginning.” 

In the proposal, two options were presented. The first being that the university funds the project in full, and the second being that the committee finds a way to fund part of the process to split the cost. Maldonado doesn’t think it will be completed this academic year due to forum renovations, but he sees the potential for a water fountain to be in place next year. 

“I think it will definitely be a positive thing for the environment within the suites. I think it’s a basic human right for somebody to have access to water. As long as it gets done, that’s what matters. It’s not about me making an impact, it’s about me laying the foundations for future students to benefit from.” 

Because students have become so accustomed to this lifestyle of knowing where they can get water, they don’t bring it up because they feel there is a low chance of the problem being solved.  Maldonado hopes that once the proposal goes through, it will stir up some conversation and people will get behind the initiative.  

“I one hundred percent support getting a new water fountain installed in the suites. I would participate in any movements needed to get a water fountain, whether that be fundraisers, petitions, or something else,” said Cheney.

In the meantime, money will be allocated to getting a Brita water filter installed in Briscoe Hall One. 

“I hope residents pick up on this. You should go ahead and say, yes, it’s a great idea for us to have water here. Why wouldn’t it, regardless of the cost? I’m positive that we can go ahead and at least make a movement towards that goal,” said Maldonado.