“Water” You Talking About?


Shefali Kumar

When you walk into school or go to gym class, chances are you have seen Morris Hills’ newest eco-friendly initiative: the water bottle filling stations. These stations allow students to fill up their bottles with clean, filtered water simply by hovering their bottles in front of a sensor. While the water fountain component still remains, there is no longer a need to tilt your bottle or use a tiny spout.

Funds for this initiative were raised largely in part by the Home and School Association for Morris Hills. At the end of every year, the H & S Association encourages Mr. Toriello to use the funds to purchase items that can impact the entire student body. Over a year ago, Mr. Toriello decided to implement these water bottle stations: a new, eco-friendly initiative. Additionally, last year, Ms. Vesper’s science class conducted a research project on the positive impact of these stations, garnering further support for Mr. Toriello’s proposal.

The Home and School Association raised over $17,000 last year, which went towards purchasing eleven water stations. Four have been installed so far and the rest will be installed throughout the year. One station will be installed in the soon-to-be renovated snack shack on Gifford Field. Although approximately fifteen water fountains will remain the same, the long-run vision for this new initiative is to turn every single water fountain at MH to this new, eco-friendly water bottle filling station.

The feedback for this new initiative has been “nothing but positive,” Mr. Toriello said in an interview. “Not only is this a positive endeavor for the high school, but also it allows our school to do our small part to help the environment.” Students, staff, and parents have all been very supportive of this new, progressive initiative to improve the school’s infrastructure and environmental impact.

One of the most positive impacts is “being able to see environmental conversations spark around the stations,” said Mr. Toriello. The stations display a small dialogue box that indicates the number of water bottles that have been saved per station. This number has reached in the thousands since the beginning of school (1.5 months ago), and has brought an awareness about protecting of the environment. Mr. Toriello has shared this initiative with the principal at Morris Knolls, hoping to make it a district-wide program.

Mr. Toriello has a strong vision of implementing “capital improvements to the building” to “present our school in the best light possible.” “We spend most of our lives here at Morris Hills,” he said, “and so the physical structure of the building carries over to everything else — our academics, our athletics, and everything in between.” Mr. Toriello has a long-range plan of improving the building’s infrastructure; he has already taken multiple steps in fulfilling this vision, such as the hanging banners outside the front entrance, placing the new bronze scarlet knight, and incorporating renovated umbrellas on the benches outside the tennis courts. Our building is so old that it is very possible to have renovations elsewhere, thus allowing for multiple pathways for us to engage in eco-friendly alternatives for energy, the furnace, oil, and more. When Morris Hills old-timers visit the school they often say that the building has become “great to come to and great to look at.”

Morris Hills’ new capital improvements, coupled with the new water bottle filling stations, all contribute to our vision of being a strong, eco-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing school.