Bwog Staff Writer and John Jay Resident William Lyman breaks down the problem with water fountains in his building. 

“I know the sink water is good. I know it is” I say to myself as I lower my bottle into the sink. It’s cold, it’s refreshing, it gets the job done. New York water is great, a fact i’m told many times by flyers around campus. Someone fought hard so I could safely drink this water. As I fill my bottle, awkwardly tilted at an angle to fit in the ceramic, I notice something. A single black hair sits in the sink, staring up at me.

“Just get your water and go” I reassure myself, thinking about how desperately I need water. But what are you, little hair? What is your story? Where did you come from? Stop looking at me.

Before I know it, more hairs come into my vision. Did someone shave? When is the next bathroom cleaning? Am I going to cry? Maybe I could just take the elevator down to the main floor and fill my bottle there. Oh wait, the elevators are down. Is it worth fourteen flights of stairs? 

This is a dilemma I face daily as a resident of John Jay Hall. We need refillable water fountains. Every time I go over to Carman, I’m astonished by the access it’s residents have to clean, nearby fillers. Frequently I’ll see someone in the John Jay lobby filling their Brita in pajamas, clearly inconvenienced by the trip downstairs. Imagine a world where this was all made simple. 

Despite the drama of my presentation, the lack of available water fountains speaks to an issue of poorly updated facilities at Columbia. Problems like this can be seen in other buildings, such as McBain or Hamilton. It feels as if half of our campus is living in the present, and half is still in the era when Alexander Hamilton actually went here. 

I propose this: SEAS students are challenged with the creation and installation of fountains around campus. If they are smart enough to build a boat to escape Manhattan and the swim test, surely they can hook me up with some water that isn’t presented alongside someone’s shavings and what I hope is toothpaste on the counter. 


Photo via Global Industrial