The Quest to Find the Perfect Water Fountain

It’s a Wednesday night, and my friends and I just finished dinner at Sharples, so we’re walking home while arguing over whether or not all foods can be fit into the categories of soup, salad, and sandwich (I argue that a singular apple does not, although many apples can be a salad). We enter Willets Hall and go into our respective rooms, not yet finished with this conversation, but knowing that we have work to do that is equally as important as what category Jell-O fits in. 

I sit at my desk and pull out my laptop, my notes, and get ready to start my work. I feel a dryness in the back of my throat, so I grab my water bottle, but before even unscrewing the cap, I can tell by the lightness of the bottle that the dryness in my throat won’t be going away soon. My water bottle is empty. 

While the tickle in my throat continues to become more and more noticeable, I think about my options for refilling it. And of course, that means making a list. 

5. Sharples Dining Hall

This is probably the worst option. Like, I love Sharples, but I already ate dinner, so I would need to use another meal swipe just to refill my water bottle. Although it would give me another chance to grab a brownie or some ice cream, I already had both. Sure, the ice in the soda machines sounds promising, but I know the ice won’t go into my bottle and will instead go all over the floor, and the water machine isn’t very conducive to filling my exorbitantly large water bottle. Maybe not worth it.

Sharples Dining Hall

4. Parrish Hall East Wing

The water bottle filler at the beginning of the east wing, right next to all of the club posters. This is where I usually fill my water bottle in the mornings when I’m waiting in Parrish for the van that takes my bowling class to the bowling alley. And if I go into Parrish at this time of the evening, I may even be able to hear someone playing something on the piano, which is always a treat. Definitely a contender.

The East Parlor of Parrish Hall

3. Main Floor Matchbox

Notably some of the best water on campus. For good reason, too. Nothing but the best for all of the varsity athletes, fitness students, or anyone looking to break a sweat with any of our amazing workout equipment. That cold refreshing taste almost makes you forget about how out of breath you are and how much you can’t feel your legs. Downside: It’s all the way across campus, and do I really want to be that person that just goes to the Matchbox to refill my water bottle? I guess that wondrous water will have to wait for another day. 

The Matchbox, ie. Swarthmore’s gym

2. Willets First South

At this point, I should just get water from the water fountain in my hall. It’s not that it’s bad water; if anything, the water fountain in Willets is almost as cold and refreshing as the water in the Matchbox, but it doesn’t have a water bottle filler, although that is only a mild inconvenience. No, the real issue is that all of my friends are here, and if my friends and I all accidentally go to the water fountain at the same time, no work will be getting done tonight. Especially this math homework. Wait..

The outside of Willets Hall, one of our dorms

1. Science Center Commons

There is a pirate session tonight for my math homework! Which means, I can both get rid of this incessant tickling in my throat, and go to a math clinic and get help on whatever Stoke’s Theorem is. Although this water bottle filler is usually in high demand during the day from students walking out of Bio 2 or Chem 10, many of those students are holed up in McCabe right now, leaving a water bottle filler with my name on it. And once I get out of the pirate session, I can walk over to the Science Center Cafe and order an iced coffee or a chamomile tea, depending on how much longer I want to stay awake after finishing my work tonight. 

Science Center Commons and Cafe

I leave my room to begin the walk up to Sci, but not before yelling into my friend’s room that parfaits are vaguely both salad and soup. As I’m making my way out the door, I stop to fill my water bottle at the Willets fountain. I mean, I need something to get me up that hill to Sci. 

About the Author:

Hi! I’m Oswaldo, a junior from Reno, NV majoring in Engineering and Environmental Studies. Outside of classes, I am a tour guide, a President’s Sustainability Research Fellow, work on student theater productions, and am in Swarthmore’s improv comedy group Vertigo-go. You can find me anywhere on campus by looking for the yellow crocs my friends want me to stop wearing.

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