It’s a luxury often taken for granted, an entitlement that goes unappreciated by passers-by in the hallways. But one junior here at Binghamton University recognizes water fountains for the priceless convenience that they are and has decided to act. If you share this sentiment and are craving an outlet for your water fountain enthusiasm and intrigue, Nick O’Neill is here to quench your thirst.
When he first created Binghamton Water Fountain Review, O’Neill, a junior majoring in geography, envisioned a network of water fountain aficionados and casual users alike coming together to appreciate and acknowledge the endless benefits water fountains provide.
On his blog, O’Neill chronicles different water fountains around the Binghamton University campus, offering his insight on each fountain’s competence, usability and temperature while pointing out noteworthy features. When it comes to water in general, the glass has always been half full for O’Neill.
“I’ve always been a water person,” he said. “I’ve never had an interest in soda or juice or anything like that. Water fountains are just easier. They’re convenient. I’ve always been a student, so I’ve always used water fountains.”
From a young age, O’Neill would always take advantage of a water fountain if he saw one in a hallway. Regardless of its temperature or appearance, he would always appreciate its mere existence. From there, his fascination took off.
“It’s sort of how you develop an interest in anything,” O’Neill said. “You start with your first encounter, whenever it was. Then you move to Wikipedia and start looking up water manufacturers and the history of water fountains, which is fascinating. And it develops and grows into something beautiful.”
Each review on the blog is thorough in its analysis. O’Neill reviews the physical makeup of each fountain in relation to its surroundings and revels in its artistry. He couples his descriptions with photos to provide his readers with a visual component to complement his astute detailing.
“I have an interest in water fountains and I have an interest in reviewing things,” O’Neill said. “If you read the reviews, you can sort of see the difference between the fountains. Anyone who’s tasted more than one water fountain can tell the difference between two different water fountains.”
While sanitary conditions are usually at the forefront of would-be fountain users’ decisions, there’s another, more intimidating obstacle in play. In O’Neill’s assessment, the biggest threat to the landscape of water fountains is the use of bottled water. It’s bad for the environment, costly and he just doesn’t see the sense in it.
“Let’s say you go to Yankee Stadium,” he said. “There are fountains there. But they’re so tucked away and hidden that you can’t find them. And people will ignore them and go to the concession stands and go buy water for $6. It doesn’t make sense to me. Using bottled water, it’s just something I hate.”
In getting his message out there, O’Neill knows that he’s bound to run into his fair share of skeptics and critics. A blog reviewing public water fountains?
“I’m not going to say that there isn’t some sort of element of absurdity to it, there is,” he said. “But it’s also something serious.”
At the end of the day, O’Neill is in this for the love of the game. In response to a recent question asked on his blog, he reminded us, “Do what you love, love what you do, and never ever drink Dasani.” While his passion for water fountains is at the heart of his blog, he’s got another goal in mind of equal importance.
“I want to get out my reviews, but I also want to bring people together,” O’Neill said. “That’s what the best blogs do. Bringing together all these people who may or may not have an interest in water fountains, but have an interest in appreciating … I want to spread the love of water fountains across this campus like a fever.”
Let’s drink to that.