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Lourdes University business students are encouraging their peers to stop the waste and start being green.
In the next week, the project conceived by a group of master of business administration students will be put in motion. The university will install five Elkay EZH2O refillable water stations inside the Franciscan Center, Mother Adelaide Hall, St. Clare Hall, St. Francis Hall, and St. Joseph Hall/Flask Nursing Center.
It replaces water fountains that had disposable cups provided by the university. Instead, students will be encouraged to reduce waste by using refillable bottles.
The project will end Aug. 22.
The new water stations can dispense 3,000 gallons of purified water per filter, said Sister Janet Doyle, administrator of Sylvania Franciscan Village and founder of its Green Fund. The Franciscan Village has three communities: The Sisters of St. Francis, Lourdes University, and Sylvania Franciscan Health.
The Green Fund board was set up in fall 2013 to support sustainable projects. The board includes the Franciscans, university students, and staff. It donated $5,000 to the project, covering the cost.
“We are trying to eliminate plastic cups and water bottles, cold turkey,” Sister Janet said.
The project was the brainchild of MBA students who took part in Triple Bottom Line, a course taught by Ryan Butt, dean of business and leadership.
The course emphasizes British economist John Elkington’s theory that measures business success by financial, environmental, and social impact, Mr. Butt said.
Students estimated the university will save about $3,200 a year by ditching disposable cups, keeping up to 8,000 cups out of the landfill per year.
Students also found that the university’s payback period is less than two years. The savings will support the Green Fund, which has about $30,000 in private donations allocated for sustainable projects.
It’s a revolving fund. The university will replace the project cost plus 10 percent.
“Save money and save the Earth,” Sister Janet said.
The group has plans to use green ambassadors to encourage the use of refillable products. Its next focus will be on lowering the use of beverages in plastic bottles on campus.
“We have vending machines with water and soda, and eventually we want to move away from that. It’s a step-by-step process,” university spokesman Heather Hoffman said.