March 21, 2019

Bottle-Filling Stations and Beyond: Doing Our Part on World Water Day and Every Day

by Choya Randolph, M.F.A. '18

Water being poured into a glass

The United Nations has proclaimed March 22 World Water Day, devoted to sustainable, clean drinking water for all. In honor of the day and the mission, here are just some of the ways Adelphi faculty, staff, students and alumni are doing their part in their careers, research, and day-to-day lives to achieve the goals of clean drinking water and cleaner oceans and coasts.

2,834,008 bottles and counting

You’ve seen them all over campus and maybe even quenched your thirst using one of our many water-bottle-filling stations. Over the past few years, the Adelphi community has refilled the equivalent of almost 3 million bottles at these eco- and wallet-friendly stations, instead of purchasing water in single-use plastic bottles that often end up in landfills and polluting oceans and waterways. In 2015, Adelphi hit the million bottles filled mark and was awarded a plaque from Elkay, our water-filter supplier, for reducing our carbon footprint and helping preserve the earth for future generations.

Notice we mentioned above “almost 3 million”? As of this writing, the count was 2,834,008 bottles filled. Keep filling your bottles and help us reach that 3 million mark by Commencement!

Using technology to filter drinkable water

Justyna Widera-Kalinowska, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, runs a research program that uses nanotechnology to break down dangerous pollutants in water. As part of a study abroad program, every year, 12 students accompany her to Poland to complete research that could improve solar panels and explore materials that can degrade waste materials in water.

Bringing renewable energy and clean water to rural communities

The work of Gita Surie, Ph.D., professor and department chair of management in the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, focuses on how social entrepreneurs can play a key role in bringing renewable energy technologies to rural communities in India that don’t have access to essentials such as power and clean water.

Restoring the oyster ecosystem

Last summer, graduate student Laura Fallon and Associate Professor Aaren Freeman, Ph.D., joined forces to restore the oyster ecosystem on Long Island. Dr. Freeman, who is also graduate coordinator of the Environmental Studies Program, is co-founder of a group called Community Oyster Restoration Effort (CORE) along with Ruth Coffey, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of environmental studies. The group is helping to restore the oyster ecosystem on Long Island by creating reefs that serve as oyster breeding grounds.

Art with a powerful statement

For over 30 years, Christopher Saucedo, associate professor of art and art history, has been using his art to reflect the duality of water. Last year, Saucedo presented his exhibit Water Bottle Buoyswhich featured water bottles formed into sculptures and floats. Self-Portrait as a Water Bottle Buoy, as he describes, “replicates the exact physical volume of my body as measured by water displacement, [and] will serve as a marker to both the good water and the bad water: the drinking water we consume to live and the rising seawater that will one day consume us all.” His work is currently on exhibit at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.

Saucedo isn’t the only professor who uses his art to address water. From November 2017 to January 2018, the gallery in the Ruth S. Harley University Center hosted Associate Professor and Department Chair of Art and Art History Kellyann P. Monaghan’s exhibit of paintings and prints titled Wind, Water, Rock and SkyHer work explores the effects of climate change and dramatic weather and can now be viewed on her website.

Preserving water in Australia

This upcoming summer, students will have the opportunity to study abroad in Australia and explore some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. In this program, offered every other summer, students will learn how to preserve tropical rain forests and coral reefs and make a difference in the natural systems.

Bringing change from the classroom to around the world

Alumni are also working to make a difference in the hydrosphere. Carlos Colombani ’16 is a life scientist for the Environmental Justice team in the EPA’s Division of Enforcement and Compliance, where he lives out his dream understanding the environmental issues people in different communities are experiencing. Sara Kulins ’15 transferred her passion for water from Long Island to New Zealand where she researched the effects of climate change on kelp forests. For almost a decade, Anita Thompkins, M.B.A. ’11, has been ensuring that drinking water plants from New York to the United States Virgin Islands comply with environmental laws.

And in the meantime…

…drink up, Panthers—with filtered water in reusable bottles! Let’s hit that 3 million mark before the end of the Spring 2019 semester, and continue to reduce plastic waste in waterways and landfills. Cheers!


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Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

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More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

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