Fountains: Filthy or Fantastic?


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You’ve got an itch in your throat that you can’t scratch and you are out of fresh spring water in your eco-friendly bottle. You turn to your next option: a scary, silver, crusty, what-used-to-be shiny drinking water fountain stares back at you.

Jacksonville University has a couple of water fountain options but deciding which is the best choice is the hard part. It’s mostly agreed upon that water fountains do not offer the highest quality water. They’re essentially a refrigerated stream of hard, tap water that might also be a major house for germs.

It can be a bleak moment when you find yourself no longer having the luxury of a better class of beverage, such as Zephyrhills, Dasani or even a Coke.
But hey, it’s free. And as long as it’s unquestionably clean and offers bona fide cold water that is pushed out at an acceptable pressure, it will most likely be a popular fountain.

“The pressure of the water flow is just as important,” said Vesilios Nenos, a biology student at JU. “One time, I was in DCOB and I was at the left fountain, wearing a dress shirt, and the girl to my right pushed the button and it got all over me while I was drinking. She didn’t even think to stop it.”

The temperature of the water can often help mask the unpurified taste.

“The fact that the water is ice cold makes you forget that it sucks,” said Josh Lambert.

However there are those who just don’t use them, no matter how perfect they may seem.

“I don’t use water fountains,” said Gabrielle Toliver. “They’re gross, germy and I feel like they don’t truly get cleaned.”

And that might be for good reason.

“As I went to get some water and pushed the button, the water sprayed me directly in my nostril,” said Andre Addison, communication major at JU. “I felt like I almost drowned.”

Addison isn’t the only one who’s taken some fountain water to the face.

“One time, I went to get a sip of water and the ‘water’ looked like milk,” said Alex Sawyer, a security officer at JU. “And black stuff and rust shot me in the face.”

Water fountains can offer some innocent fun, such as dunking someone’s head in the stream, or splashing someone as they walk by. Nonetheless, water fountains can offer major hazards, too.

“In middle school, we weren’t allowed to drink out of the water fountains for awhile because there was a chemical seepage, and they were fearful that those chemicals leaked into our water,” said Jeff Miller, aviation major.

There are not just chemicals you need to worry about, either.

“My friend got Mono from a water fountain,” said Cassandra Reising, elementary education major at JU. “Now she won’t drink from a water fountain, ever.”

Overall, both of the filtered water fountains in Davis Commons, the one located in Nellie’s and the one by the girl’s restroom in the gym are said to be the finest.

“Nellie’s is the best,” Reising said. “It’s clean and cold.”

Not only does cleanliness apply, but so the taste of the water.

“All Jacksonville water has a weird taste,” Miller said. “So, any of them that are purified with a filter are preferred.”

Some other favorite fountains include the one in the library next to the TRiO office, the fountain at Merritt Penticoff, the spout in Gooding past the Study Abroad office and the one in the campus Security Office.

“The one at the Security Office is great because it has good pressure and is really cold,” Sawyer said. “It has an older filter on it, but it’s still so good. Maybe it’s because it’s closer to the big tanks.”

The water fountains in Philip’s Fine Arts building and the Kinne center are said to be the worst on campus.

“They’re not cold and taste funny,” said Zack Wing, a music business major at JU.

Next time you need to lap up some water from the nearest watering hole, remember some of the basic elements that make for a good fountain.

“It has to be clean and cold,” Miller said. “Once you find that perfect one, make a mental note of it. You’ll visit it often.”
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