Springer School and Center eighth-grader Nancy Sutkamp saw a need at her school and leveraged available resources to fill it. Sutkamp noticed that she never had time to fill her water bottle at the school’s water fountains, and she could not fill it completely. She realized that water bottle filling stations would solve that problem and then began thinking of the other benefits the stations could provide.
Sutkamp enlisted the help of eighth-graders Ryan Brensike, Conner Dute’ and Summer Jones, and the foursome gathered data about the number of plastic water bottles recycled at the school and researched the health benefits of proper hydration and the implications of quicker filling on students getting to class on time. They circulated a petition among Middle School students and submitted it along with a letter of explanation to Executive Director Shelly Weisbacher.
With help from Springer’s Development Department, several foundations were solicited, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation agreed to fund the installation of four bottle filling stations – one on each floor of the school – with a grant of $7,500.
Sutkamp was proud of the success of the project and found the experience to be educational. “I learned that anything I put my mind to, I can achieve,” she said. The filling stations were installed at the school in April and unveiled at an April 20 Earth Day assembly attended by members of Sutkamp’s family.
“Nancy was a compelling advocate for the water stations, beginning with the letter she wrote to me expressing the need for them,” said Weisbacher. “She deserves much credit for shepherding this project through to its successful completion.”