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Butler Water Fountains, We’re Calling You Out

The only thing missing from Butler is a couple of camels and maybe a tumbleweed or two.

The only thing missing from Butler is a couple of camels and maybe a tumbleweed or two.

There are plenty of things at Columbia that makes us say WTF, but the Butler water fountains have been on our minds as of late. Thirsty Staffer Emma Seely-Katz calls out the fountain drought of 2015.

Many Columbia students have had to overcome some sort of adversity on the road to admittance. Is it really necessary to face more adversity as a student here? No, not racial or class prejudices, mental healthcare issues, or other petty problems like those. The true issue on campus is those damn Butler water fountains.

Picture this: it’s 1:30 in the morning and you’ve been holed up in the Papyrology room for the past five hours writing your midterm paper for your Film History class when suddenly you realize the inside of your mouth is drier than a countertop after it’s been mopped with a ShamWow. A combination of panic, a head cold, and the musty library air have turned your mouth into a cottony hole of discomfort, and you’ve forgotten your SGA-provided thermos you usually keep filled with tea. See, if you were in Lerner or Diana, this would be no problem. You’d dust off your cramping hands, ask that creepy kid across the stacks to watch your computer (he’s been watching you for the past half-hour, it shouldn’t be a problem), and stroll into the nearest hallway. You’d probably find a water fountain near, possibly even one of those fancy situations equipped with a water-bottle-filler, doling out streams of fresh, cold water on command.

But you’re in Butler, so good luck with that.

Instead, you’ll likely find a tiny metal water “fountain” (the term has never been used more loosely) that seems devoid of any sympathy towards your desert-mouthed self. You’ll probably have to stick your head halfway into the contraption to catch even a single drop of water on your cracking lips. Not that you’d even want any of that stuff touching your tongue–no one knows for sure what lurks in the murky water dispensed by the Butler water fountains.

Some horror stories:

“Almost choked on a marble muffin because my throat was devoid of moisture.”

“Had to water the periodicals plant with sink water.”

“Annoyed af when I had to ask for a cup of water from Blue Java because I didn’t have any liquids with which I could take my medicine.”

That moment when “you fill up a water bottle with fountain water and it looks all murky and full of weird stuff until it settles and your friends give you looks of water fountain shame.”

For a building that ostensibly serves as camp for the most studious of Columbia kids, is the focal point of most campus tours, and takes a revered place opposite the distinguished Alma Mater on main campus, Butler’s aquatic provisions are sorely lacking. Many an all-nighter has been soured by the futile search for liquid relief from oral dryness in a library that’s supposed to be one of the most equipped amenities of the University.

We are tired of craning our necks at an uncomfortable angle to wet our tongues as freshmen doped up on their first-ever espresso ogle us from behind. We are tired of feeling like we could conduct research on the layers of sediment left in our water bottles after filling them up at Butler. We are just plain tired, and as one student said, “Adderall makes us really fucking thirsty.”

Desert Life via Shutterstock

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1 Comment

  • Sharon says:

    @Sharon Also, the water fountains and sprinklers going off are taunting the entire earth. There is a huge drought going on, and those unnecessary things just keep on spouting water as if superficial beauty is something more important than life.

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