Healthy vending machines, water bottle filling stations now available


Auxiliary Enterprises (AE), the umbrella group for departments such as Parking & Transportation and University Services at Mason, has recently released its AE Green Second Quarter Update, which details the practices Mason is implementing to have a more sustainable campus environment.

A few of the more immediate changes include: Elkay water bottle filling stations, 2bU Healthy Vending Machines, exterior recycling bins and charging stations.

The Elkay water bottle filling stations are currently installed in the JC only, but will be moving to the HUB, Skyline, Sub I, the RAC and the Field House.

“This is my second time using it. I love it. It only takes one hand, which makes it 100 percent better, quicker and easier,” senior Paul Laudiero said.

For many, it was the first time using the water bottle filling station.

“That’s incredible. It’s cleaner than using water fountains. I think it should keep people from buying so many plastic bottles, and it saves water too because the regular water fountain is always a hassle and sprays wasted water all over the place,” sophomore Krystin Thorson said.

The general consensus is that the Elkay station is a good idea.

“I didn’t realize this was new – I used it a lot back at NOVA as well. I think it’s very handy. It helps me because I constantly reuse my water bottle. It’s easier,” junior Sidney Ng.

As far as the 2bU Healthy Vending Machine goes, some students are definitely interested in using it.

“I’m really tempted to buy something for my class. I’m super excited because I sometimes need a fast snack, but I don’t like getting things that are bad for me. These snacks are organic and the machine even has gluten-free options,” Thorson said.

However, fewer students seemed to know about the 2bU Vending Machine.

“I haven’t seen the machine but it sounds kind of cool. I didn’t even know it existed actually. It’d be nice if they had more of them,” sophomore Brittany Owen said.

The views on the 2bU Machine were also more varied than the filling station.

“I don’t really care about healthy snacks. I’m a college student – anything cheap and fattening is good for me,” Ng said.

Though Mason is making leaps and bounds in regards to sustainability, there is still more to be done in order to have a more environmentally friendly campus.

“I think Mason is definitely on the right track. I love the new recycling bins in the dorms. I would personally love to see some kind of initiative to get people to stop littering on campus. When I go jogging, the amount of junk I see in the park is disgusting. This poses a threat to wildlife,” Owen said.

Freshman Colin Nackerman, member of the Environmental Action Group’s (EAG) Steering Committee, has a few ideas on how Mason can do better.

“There are three vital approaches we can take to lessen our impact on our natural environment. Firstly, we must invest in renewable energies, which we are currently beginning to do through student-initiated projects using the Patriot Green Fund,” Nackerman said.

The Patriot Green Fund is one of the achievements of EAG. The Fund is granted $100,000 a year for sustainable-related infrastructure projects.

“Second, I think it is important as a university to pride ourselves in our sustainability practices and publicize our achievements. This will help spread awareness and get students motivated to participate,” Nackerman said.

Any student, teacher or faculty member can apply to receive funding from The Patriot Green Fund. One of the current projects is working to build solar-powered picnic tables for those who want to work outside, but need chargers for their laptops or cell phones.

Nackerman views outside influence on Mason to be the biggest issue keeping the campus from being as sustainable as possible.

“We need to divest from corporations which have been providing our public university with immense amounts of money and influence. With funding coming from sources that strongly oppose and disagree with environmental causes, it is vital we consider the influence they potentially hold. If fossil fuel energy is the largest source of income for these contributing parties, they will not likely continue to fund a university that spreads environmental awareness,” Nackerman said.

The best way to build a sustainable campus environment for further generations to enjoy is to get the students involved.

“The students should have the greatest influence on our administration and its direction. And, it is obvious with the amount of support shown that our generation is asking for a more sustainable university and world,” Nackerman said.