In December 2008, the Drexel Sustainability Council requested the formation of a Water Wise Subcommittee to explore ways to reduce or eliminate plastic water bottles on campus. In a March 2009 report, the subcommittee estimated that the Drexel community consumed more than 151,000 bottles of water from Deer Park deliveries, Coke vending machines and Sodexho catering during the 2008 calendar year alone, and that did not take into account other sources and other beverages consumed from disposable plastic bottles. Bottles that aren't recycled and end up in a landfill can take an estimated 450 years to decompose, the report noted.
Drexel students and the Undergraduate Student Government Association asked the University to seek ways of reducing water bottle usage on campus. In response, the University ordered 5 Hydration Stations in late 2009 to provide a convenient way for members of the Drexel community to refill reusable containers with fresh, filtered drinking water. The USGA purchased water bottles for use at the Hydration Stations and distributed them in spring 2010.
The first wave of Hydration Stations, installed in early 2010, were single, automatic, touch-free units that dispense filtered water into a reusable bottle, glass, or other container. Later, Drexel began installing dual Water Fountain/Hydration Stations, which include both a traditional drinking fountain and a push-button Hydration Station for refilling containers. To date, these dual stations alone have dispensed nearly 30,000 gallons of water to members of the Drexel community.