SESF approves grant for hand dryers

energy graph1Sustainability advocates from Bellevue College worked to gain Student Environmental Sustainability Fund approval to fund electric hand-dryers on campus. What began as a concern regarding current paper waste and the inconvenience to some disabled students presented by the paper towel dispensers that require dual hand action sprouted into a full-blown fabrication of conservation efforts, actions and feats. The high traffic flow of the C building makes it a suitable location for the paper consumption-dulling air hand dryers.

The proposal for the grant, approved by SESF members eager to provide sustainable resources and education to the student, faculty, staff and visitors of BC, was largely pursued by Associated Student Government Environmental and Social Responsibility Representative Mackenzie Williamson. She was urged by Faisal Jaswal, assistant dean of Student Programs, to pursue the hand dryer mission bringing some of his previously mentioned concerns to the table when he approached her a few months ago. She quickly “assembled a committee including staff, students and members of the disables community to gather feedback,” as she recalled.

After the responses were analyzed, a Campus Projects Request Form was completed to propose the allowance of campus alterations for sustainability and an SESF Application was also filled out and turned in. The request was presented to the SESF committee on Jan. 30. Mackenzie said, “the approved the request, and we are now waiting on Campus Operations to approve or deny the request.”

The grant will fund four hand dryers, which will all be located in the densely used men’s and women’s bathrooms in the C building, two in each bathroom. The decided model they plan to install is one that will prevent water dripping onto the floor, which will in turn reduce messes and the possibility of slipping on wet patches. The model is called the Mitsubishi Jet Towel Hand Dryer, which is considered a high speed hand dryer and therefore poses as the most environmentally friendly option for hand drying.

The elimination of paper towel usage at BC is not necessarily foreseen in the near future. Even after the first four hand drying units are installed in the C building, those bathrooms will most likely continue to provide paper towels to users. This will happen as the effectiveness of the hand dryers is gauged and will ease transition or to provide convenience in a high-traffic area where people are hurrying from class to class. Time will tell if paper will continue to be provided as statistic of usage and conservation show themselves. It is also not clear as of now if more paper-free hand drying systems will be funded for installation at Bellevue College, but more may be installed in the future.