One of the constant topics of discussion here on campus is the weather. Now, as cliche as that may sound, we all know it's true. Mainly, we're all complaining about how it's raining (or snowing) and we don't feel like walking to the Library to work on a paper, or to the Campus Center for a meeting because we don't want to walk through the horrible Meadville Precipitation. I'm sitting in the library writing this, and I just heard one of the librarians ask one of the student workers how she was doing "on this rainy day." See, I told you. We talk about it ALL THE TIME.
Well I've been reading a bit about rainwater harvesting. I first got inclined to learn more about it when I read an article about how harvesting is being BANNED in many western states. People are fighting legal battles for the right to harvest the little bit of rain that falls in their neighborhood, and all we can manage to do is whine about how it's getting in the way of our "productivity?" Something seems off here.
I didn't really know a whole lot about what rainwater harvesting was. I had heard of families harvesting rainwater at their homes, but I wasn't quite sure if that was a process that could translate to, let's say, Allegheny. From the research I've done-- and anyone who knows more about the subject is certainly free to add and comment on this-- it seems as though rainwater harvesting could actually be a feasible idea for Allegheny.
Just think about all of the things we use water for, especially water that doesn't necessarily have to be up to drinking par. For example, the trays in Brooks. They wash those after every use. People don't actually eat off of them, but they get sanitized after every use. Why not use treated rainwater that we collect to wash them? What about all of the water we use in Doane? Amara Geffen, a professor of Art (who also happens to be my boss) pointed out that students use gallons and gallons of water every day washing out their brushes. That water might not even need to be treated! Or how about all of the toilets on campus? Surely we don't need treated water for those either.
Kelly Boulton, the Sustainability coordinator said there had been talk of some sort of rainwater harvesting in the renovations of Carr Hall. But, from the sound of it, things were in the preliminary talking stages. Think it's a good idea? Start talking about it. If the College thinks the students are all for it, they're more likely to spend the time (and money) to make it happen.
My point is, there are lots of things we use a lot of water for. And instead of complaining about how it's always raining, maybe we could do something productive with all that rain. On top of the obvious extra water benefits, it would also reduce flooding around campus. Maybe then, on your sprint to Carnegie for that 8AM (or 11AM) you're about to miss the beginning of, you wouldn't have to run all the way around Shultz lawn because it was too muddy to run across. I, for one, can say I had to run all the way around the lawn due to mud quite a few times.
Well, ironically, I'm holed up in the library until the rain subsides, so I'm going to work on some other green projects! Welcome to Mud-ville, everyone!