Office of Sustainability Rewarding Students Who Report Water Leaks

The Water Bounty Initiative is available to all Loyola students and rewards various sustainability themed items.

While water might make for a great roommate, it just goes with the flow, the Office of Sustainability is offering a reward to students who report leaks and other water waste on campus through their Water Bounty Initiative.

The Water Bounty Initiative is a part of the Office of Sustainability’s green living on campus efforts, according to the School of Environmental Sustainability website. Any water leakage on Loyola’s Lakeshore Campus, Water Tower Campus and Health Sciences Campus can be reported through their website to receive the sustainability kit reward.

The sustainability kit reward isn’t monetary but a package of various reusable items including  reusable straws, water bottles, reusable utensils, compostable bags and pins. The program has been in place since 2020 and receives around 10 to 15 reports a year, according to Megan Conway, the sustainability manager for the Office of Sustainability.

Examples of water leaks include leaky faucets or showers, irrigation systems running during rain, emergency leaks such as continually flushing toilets, rushing water in pipes or flooded spaces, according to Campus Sustainability Intern Junior Abbey Haynes.

Haynes, a junior, recently started working with the Office of Sustainability in January and is responsible for assembling the sustainability kit rewards for those who successfully report a leak.

“The gift is basically just an incentive for people to keep reporting it,” Haynes said. “We’re glad that they report it, and we just like to thank them for doing that.”

Junior Erin Tien has reported three leaks in BVM Hall, De Nobili Hall and Mertz Hall. In each instance the leak was from a sink.

“I am very likely to recommend the water bounty program to others,” Tien wrote to The Phoenix via email. “It only takes a couple minutes maximum, and it helps save water. Plus, you then get some cool prizes. Really, it’s a win-win.”

Water Bounty Initiative first began in 2020 when facilities wanted more campus awareness on how to report leaks and looked to the Office of Sustainability for help with outreach and engagement, according to Conway. Conway said conserving water through reporting leaks also lined up with the office’s sustainability goals which include having the lowest environmental footprint in Illinois, supporting sustainability across curriculum and envisioning the campus as a community change-agent, according to the office’s website.

“It’s been successful,” Conway said. “There’s a limited number of leaks on campus, so we want to make sure any that come through are addressed. We get from 10 to 15 a year reports to Water Bounty that use the official Water Bounty hashtag to receive a prize though there are leaks that are addressed otherwise.”

Hamlet Gonzalez, assistant vice president of facilities and campus planning, said the majority of the leaks reported have been genuine and not what he called false positives.

“Being a school that values sustainability, I think a lot of our students are more conscientious than I would say, at other institutions, because I think people pick Loyola because of its values and one of its major values is sustainability,” Gonzalez said.

The water and sewer rates for Chicago have steadily risen in the past two decades, according to the Chicago Department of Finance. Gonzalez said he is also aware of the financial benefits of saving water on campus.

“We’re trying to not let water run because ultimately, it becomes a university expense,” Gonzalez said. “Expenses increase, then we need to find ways to offset those expenses and I think they’re tied back to tuition and all kinds of stuff. So, there’s that component, too, that always kind of lingers in the back.”

To report a leak, students should file a work order through the ARCHIBUS work order system while including the location of the leak and the hashtag #WaterBounty in the action requested box, according to the Water Bounty Initiative website. If the leak is an emergency, students should call Campus Safety to immediately report it and then file a complementary work order to receive the reward, according to Gonzalez.

ARCHIBUS is a facilities management software, according to the Archibus website. Through it, students can submit online work order requests directly to Facilities who will handle the leak before forwarding the Water Bounty message to Haynes. Many issues such as broken locks, appliances, plumbing and others which can also be submitted to ARCHIBUS.

Tien said she enjoyed each sustainability kit reward she received and how simple the reporting process for leaks is.

“I have always had positive experiences with reporting a leak to Water Bounty,” Tien wrote. “It is quick, easy and I know I’m doing my help to the environment in any small way possible.”

Several Loyola buildings have previously suffered water damage. The Phoenix previously reported on a burst pipe in Mertz Residence Hall over winter break that led to several students being temporarily displaced from their dorms. The Phoenix also previously reported on flooding in 36 Loyola buildings following extreme rainfall Sept. 11.

Featured image by Holden Green

Hunter Minné

Hunter Minné