New infused water stations stir up mixed opinions

Students have mixed feelings about SGA's new addition to the dining hall

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The new infused water station in the Wood Commons Dining Hall; Photo by Assistant Photo Editor Maddie Ciliento '25.

At the beginning of the spring 2023 semester, students were surprised by a new addition to the dining hall: an infused water station. Questions arose about where the station came from and how it was funded.

This project was introduced to Muhlenberg’s Student Government Association (SGA) over winter break, therefore only SGA President Ben Eber ‘23 and Treasurer Evan Lipman ‘24 participated in the decision making process, with the approval of SGA advisor Ellen Lentine. Despite the fact that SGA’s General Assembly did not vote on the decision, this was within the bounds of SGA’s bylaws, which state: “The Executive Board shall be authorized to conduct the business of the SGA between academic semesters. Expenditures in excess of $1000 must be authorized by the Advisor or Dean of Students.”

SGA used funding from their reserves to pay for the station. Director of Communications Allison Mintz ‘23 explains the funding structure of SGA as being divided into three groups: the internal fund, which is used for activities such as DEI training and tabling materials; the general fund, which is used to support clubs and organizations; the reserves, which must be used for capital projects. In the past, SGA reserves have been used to create Mule Express and install laundry swipe machines (costing approximately $8,000) in the MILE area. This year, approximately $4500 of the reserves was used to install the infused water station.

Treasurer Evan Lipman ‘24 explains, “This account is unique in that it has a maximum amount of $10,500 that can be in it at once and it is refilled, if needed, with any excess funds from the general fund from that year, if there are any.”

Vice President Olivia Tebsherany ‘23 says, “I think it’s just important that people know that… this was not money that was designated to go to clubs. This was not money that’s designated for student organizations or affinity groups. That’s the general fund, which has boatloads, boatloads more money than our reserve does. Our reserve fund is specifically for these construction and beautification projects.”

“I’m not sure how I feel about having not voted. And I think a lot of other general assembly members definitely shared my sentiments,” added Tebsherany. “It’s not that I really have any problem with the water station itself. I understand why the decision was made. And I do think that the money was well spent. However, I do wish that there could have been an actual vote.”

The money SGA spent went to the stations themselves, new plumbing and a filtration system. The station is a partnership between SGA and dining services, therefore “dining services is the group maintaining, servicing and filling the infused water station,” said Eber.

Eber shared that one of the primary motivating factors for his approval of the station was that he had been informed that there was no other source of filtered water in the dining hall. This information was also disseminated to the SGA general assembly. John Pasquarello, general manager of dining services, defused this rumor, stating, “All beverage dispensers in dining services have filters on them, including the new infused water station in the Wood Dining Commons.”

However, Eber was recently informed that an additional dispenser will soon be added with non-infused filtered water. The question remains: why would another machine be added if the water in the soda machines is filtered?

Pasquarello also shared the inspiration for the station, “Dining Services and campus stakeholders looked at other beverage options for WDC. After researching recent popular trends in college dining halls, infused water was at the top of the list. Our plan is to offer a variety of infused fruits and vegetables that change regularly as we assess the popularity of the flavors we have on display.”

“So far the infused water is very popular and we refill the dispensers 10 to 12 times each day.”

John Pasquarello

However, Eber was recently informed that an additional dispenser will soon be added with non-infused filtered water. The question remains: why would another machine be added if the water in the soda machines is filtered?

Responses to the infused water station from the student body are fruitfully mixed.

Tova Granowitz ‘23 said, “I never used to drink water and now I do every time.”

While an anonymous student stated, “If you’re gonna spend that much money on it, make it taste like something… It literally tasted like nothing.”

Shobha Pai ‘24 felt differently, “I actually really like it. My day is so bad every day. I drink from that and I’m like ‘oh my god I’m so fancy.’”

“​​Name one person that legitimately asked for that.” said Angel Madrigal ‘26. “There was this one day they said that it was agua fresca when it was literally just watermelon slices. That is spa water.”

Kassy Prado-Escalante ‘25 said “Why are we using these resources for something that no one wanted? You couldn’t even put a milkshake machine? A smoothie machine? I don’t want to go to Freshens to get a smoothie.” She also expressed that she would prefer having fruit to eat rather than infused water.  “This school already has like a fruit shortage. [There’s no] actual fruit.”

“I enjoy the water station a lot to be honest but I do not think it was worth $5,000. I think one water station with just lemon water would be sufficient and the rest of the money could be used elsewhere,” said Carper Wiggins ‘26.

“To be honest, I’d prefer just lemon water anyway, like the other ones don’t go with a lot of the meals I’m eating so it feels out of place.”

Carper Wiggins ’26

Pai added, “It’s the one good thing in my day, I get it for lunch, breakfast and dinner.”

Ultimately, opinions on the station are left to the taste of the individual student, but it seems that most students agree on one thing: they would’ve liked to have been consulted before the decision was made. 

Cydney Wilson ’23 is a Political Science major with a self-design major in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and a minor in Africana Studies. Being The Weekly’s editor-in-chief has been one of the greatest joys of her college experience. She enjoys writing about the subjects that make people angry, and hopes that her journalism will inspire change, both on campus and in the world.

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