Through hard work, patience, and partnerships with local businesses, the Watauga High School Sustainability Club has installed five water bottle filling stations on the high school campus. The process began two years ago when the club was just getting started.
“After some research, we realized that by installing water bottle filling stations, we could save thousands of plastic water bottles per year. By providing these stations, we’re encouraging student health by making water easier to access,” explained Price St. Clair, president of the club. The club established a budget by selling reusable water bottles to students and members of the larger community. To fully fund the water bottle filling station project, the club relied on three generous local businesses and a grant from the Watauga Education Foundation.
“We’re grateful to Mast General Store, Come Back Shack, and 4 Forty Four for partnering with us in this project. They recognize the importance of health and sustainability in our community,” said St. Clair. Each business donated $500 to cover the cost of a single water bottle filling station, and club adviser Courtney Smith successfully applied for a grant from the Watauga Education Foundation that covered the cost of two more stations.
Precision Printing provided plaques at a discounted rate in order to recognize the corporate sponsors, and WCS staff installed the refill stations and plaques. As of this writing, the water bottle filling stations have already saved over several thousand plastic water bottles worth of waste.
Currently, the Sustainability Club is applying to have Watauga High School as a North Carolina Green School. In the future, they hope to establish single-stream recycling on campus and pursue other projects that will make the high school and high country community more sustainable. The club meets every other Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. For more information, visit their Facebook page.