College of Education > News and Publications > News: 2009 > New Development in Student Organization Campaign To Reduce Water Bottle Waste

New Development in Student Organization Campaign To Reduce Water Bottle Waste

College of Education student organization, 3E-COE, is working with OPP to test the taste and appearance of water coming out of the College's water fountains in an effort to reduce water bottle waste by encouraging campus to refill their water jugs.

by Melissa Gummo  (September 2009)

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – This fall, a student organization known as 3E-COE (Environment, Ecology, Education – College of Education) will add a new aspect to its campaign to help the University become a little greener by reducing the waste that comes from one-time use plastic water and soda bottles.

3E-COE will be working with the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) to evaluate and upgrade the appearance and taste of water coming out of water fountains and kitchenette sinks throughout the College. 3E-COE hopes people will limit their use of plastic water bottles by taking advantage of better tasting tap water.

3E-COE started their efforts last year when they lobbied President Graham Spanier by protesting in front of Old Main about the problems associated with water bottles. The rally led to meetings with OPP on how to handle waste on campus.

Jacqueline Edmondson, associate dean for undergraduate and graduate studies at the College of Education and faculty sponsor of the student organization, said, “although the water on campus is clean and healthy, it doesn’t always taste good.”

This fall, OPP and the students of 3E-COE will be working together to test the water coming out of these water fountains to see what the water tastes like so it can be updated. By the spring, there will be water filling stations in Chambers building for the students and staff to refill their water jugs.

Peter Buckland, 3E-COE president and a graduate student of Educational Theory and Policy, said, “the goal of this organization is to help students and future teachers learn how to make their own lives and schools more sustainable. School is a place where students do things, and part of what they should be doing is sustaining themselves and how they live.”

The plastic water bottles campaign is one of three efforts being made by 3E-COE to educate people on how to become more sustainable. The organization brings in community leaders to speak about ways to overcome environmental issues. Members also hope to begin working with local schools and their garden projects to push forward environmental education programs in the classroom.

Meetings are the first and third Thursday of every month starting at 8 p.m. in 209 Chambers Building, and members of the College and University are invited to attend. For more information, contact Peter Buckland at or visit 3E-COE’s Web site at