Residents of the new 2135 F Street building can check one thing off their shopping lists this fall – a water purifier.
Each suite in the new residence hall will come outfitted with a Brita pitcher and several replacement filters due to the efforts of a GW graduate student who is striving to raise awareness about bottled water waste.
Graduate student Josh Lasky recently won $10,000 grant from Brita’s Filter For Good campaign, which promotes filtered water and reusable bottles for the sake of the environment. Called “GW Bottle FREE-DOrM,” Lasky’s plan is to impact the habits of 2135 F Street’s residents and spread awareness to the rest of the GW community.
Lasky, a Presidential Administrative Fellow in GW’s Office of Sustainability, said he is not looking to ban water bottles or force students to make any radical changes.
“I’m an enthusiast, I’m not a fanatic,” said Lasky, who was the SA executive vice president during the 2006-2007 school year. “I don’t consider myself an environmentalist. I think ‘sustainability’ is a good term. It’s about quality of life with an emphasis on ecological balance.”
His first step is to supply pitchers and filters to every 2135 F suite and provide residents with a reusable Nalgene plastic water bottle to cut down on their bottled water use. Lasky hopes that every resident will volunteer to take the Filter For Good pledge that says they will reduce their bottled water use and consumption. He also hopes to encourage outreach programs that will collect used filters and track progress.
Lasky said that he is simply “greening even further” what is supposed to be the greenest residence hall on campus.
“After you’re done creating the building, there are still people living in it, and their behavior impacts that building,” Lasky said. He added, “We want to see real change and be able to have measurable results,” referring to the gallons of water or amount of plastic will be offset by the residence hall’s commitment.
Nearly 100 students nationwide applied for the College Eco-Challenge grant, which challenges college students across the country to come up with ways to green their campuses. Lasky called his “a humble project, but I think it makes a lot of sense.”
Lasky also hopes to secure deals with the GW Bookstore and nearby CVS drugstores to increase their supply of replacement filters and Nalgene bottles and to make them available at a discount for students.
Thomas Dwyer, the managing director of Residential Property Management, sees other benefits to the plan besides the environmental side.
“I think that it’s a financial benefit to the students,” Dwyer said. “They’re able to utilize city water, using the Brita filter to make it tastier, and do not need to spend their own money on bottled water.”
Meghan Chapple-Brown, the director of the Office of Sustainability who works with Lasky, said that she is proud of the proposal, calling bottled water “a big issue” in terms of the carbon footprint it leaves behind.
“We hope that it will set a good example for other residence halls and students as they graduate and move off campus,” she said.