Quick, Clean, Healthy and Green
UPDATE: May 1, 2014
A Capitol Budget failed to materialize this session, leaving COPC’s request for funds to support the purchasing and installation of water bottle filling stations for schools in need of them on hold for this year. We hope to pursue a similar request in 2015. In the meantime, we continue to support our partners at the YMCA in their efforts to install these stations in select area schools, and encourage other private sector partners to participate. A recent article by Salud America! highlight these efforts to increase access to water in Washington state schools to date: see here.
We’re forecasting a healthy new trend for youth in Washington state: Water is “IN”, sugary drinks are “OUT”. Between outdated and hidden water fountains in schools, and the competition between chocolate milk, vitamin waters and soda, you might think that’s a prediction that’s doomed to fail. But at Michael T. Simmons Elementary School in Tumwater today, we saw proof that water can be quick, clean, health, green…and fun.
Today, we joined the Washington State Alliance for YMCAs and their Statewide Pioneering Healthier Communities program, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, at Michael T. Simmons Elementary for the ribbon cutting of a new “hydration station” donated by the Y. The water bottle filling station addresses many of the disadvantages of traditional water fountains found in schools and facilities, including the ability to easily sit a water bottle under the dispensing spout, as well as the ability to fill a bottle at three times the rate of a normal fountain. The water also dispenses in a downward fashion, so the risk of contamination with germs is diminished.
The hope is that students in Tumwater will take advantage of being able to drink water throughout the day, and see it as an easy alternative to sugary drinks that could impact their health in the long run. The machine has the added benefit of demonstrating a “green” impact to Tumwater students – it is fitted with a counter that tracks how many plastic water bottles will be saved from going into landfills.
The Tumwater water bottle filling station is the first of many that the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, the American Heart Association and the Washington State Alliance of YMCAs hope to see in Washington state schools. COPC and its partners recently submitted a House Capitol Budget request to fund more stations in schools throughout the state. Currently a request of $750,000 is under consideration.
You can read more about the event attended by Representatives Stonier and Riccelli and several local leaders, as well as view all photos of the celebration by accessing the Thurston Talk coverage.