‘Greening’ McColl: From idea to reality

Bridget Brennan (MBA '14) and Solomon DeLeon (MBA '14) test out a water bottle filling station in McColl.

Bridget Brennan (MBA ’14) and Solomon DeLeon (MBA ’14) test out a water bottle filling station in McColl.

In the fall of 2012, Katrin Baker, associate director of the MBA Career Management Center, stepped out of a meeting with Tracy Triggs-Matthews, associate director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise, to refill her water bottle.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we had those water bottle refilling stations here at UNC Kenan-Flagler?” she asked.

The question sparked a two-year project to get a water bottle filling station and refill attachments installed on drinking fountains throughout the Business School.

The MBA Net Impact Greening Committee knew that bottle filling options in the McColl building were limited, but instituting a change would require support from the director of facilities for the Business School and coordination with UNC’s director of sustainability. Bridget Brennan (MBA ’14) and Solomon DeLeon (MBA ’14) volunteered to take on the task.

To gather measurable evidence of the need, the Net Impact Greening Committee – who were focused on waste reduction initiatives – conducted a blind trial on water use that showed an overwhelming number of students wanted and would use bottle filling stations if available.

With support and encouragement from the School’s director of facilities, Bridget and Solomon began tracking down the information needed to implement the initiative – including identifying a filling station model that would match the aesthetics of the McColl building as required. Working from a list of possible vendors provided by UNC’s director of sustainability, they gathered price quotes and contacted past customers as part of their due diligence.

After several months, the Greening Committee found a model that would work. By that time, the school year was wrapping up. Internal challenges and vendor negotiations slowed the process of finalizing the initiative, but after several months of persistence – and help from Katie Bradshaw (MBA ’15), who volunteered to help follow through – the efforts of students and staff culminated in the installation of new water bottle filling stations throughout the McColl building.

By Bridget Brennan (MBA ’14) and Solomon DeLeon (MBA ’14)