by Griffin Callaghan, Staff Writer, March 2021. Art courtesy of Isabela Fitzgerald
Right off the bat, this is going to come off a little strange. Perhaps even mildly too-far. So, if you will, allow me to lay out a few fundamental truths.
First, water fountains – or the lack thereof. Everyone knows that this year, water fountains are getting less use than ever. While there is no current data available that indicates a decrease in fountain usage, I think it is safe to say that people are not as likely to be drinking from the fountains.
Second, if there were ever a time that water fountains should be receiving use, it is now. With the astronomical uptick in salty snack consumption due to the new snack tables in the castle, our students are walking around campus absolutely parched. Whether it is the Pringles, Miss Vickie’s Sea Salt chips, or even the dry-mouth-inducing Oreos, it is becoming more and more apparent that water is being underserved and underutilized by our students.
Third, everyone loves seltzer. I cannot think of a more refreshing drink for our student body than a smooth Polar Raspberry Lime, a sharp Poland Springs Lemon, or – despite this last one not being a preference of my own, I have enough journalistic integrity to recognize that some people like it – a sweet Lacroix Pamplemousse (Grapefruit).
In a recent student-wide poll, it was revealed that 97% of students would vote “yes” to have all water replaced with seltzer. Okay, that statistic is made up, but even the fact that you believed it as you read it says everything. We all know people want this change, and I am the first one brave enough to put myself out there to advocate for it.
So what I propose is simple. We remove any and all regular-water dispensing machines on campus. They won’t be sorely missed – in the castle, those tiny little single-use cups are discouraging an appropriate level of hydration, anyways. Similarly, the aforementioned water fountains stand there, mocking those who did not bring their own water bottle from home. Brutal reminders of a gentler, more water-friendly past.
While this proposal may sound irrational and possibly too extreme, I would argue that the effects of dehydration are even more extreme. From lightheadedness to muscle cramps, extreme exhaustion to heart palpitations, dehydration is no joke. Physically, we cannot risk it. Nor can we ignore the possible academic consequences of dehydration, as studies have shown dehydration makes the human brain less efficient and less likely to retain information.
Some may argue that this is not a real problem. However, many of our students have reported feeling thirsty – even “impossibly dehydrated” – following their lunch period, or whenever they overindulge in their snacks that they brought from the Castle. I have been in multiple classes in which these students have to leave and walk all the way to the Castle to get another drink of water because they do not have a water receptacle with them. One student proposed that he just use a random water bottle that was left in our classroom, although I feel like we can all understand why that might not be the best idea.
Now, in comparison, imagine this scenario: a student in an upstairs Academic Center classroom feels thirsty, asks the teacher to leave class, and can return to class a mere 30 seconds later with a seltzer in hand. No time wasted. No COVID risk. And the seltzer provides an added benefit to the class with the calming fizz of carbonated water in an aluminum can. Not only can seltzer directly benefit whoever is drinking it, but it will also de-stress anyone around.
There is truly no second-choice, no decent alternative. We must make the switch to seltzer for the health and safety of our students, for the efficiency of our classes, and for the mental health of our entire community. I predict that seltzer is the future of all water, and I hope that Nobles understands the great need to be one of the first converts in what will surely be a carbonated wave.