As of Friday, Jan. 10, the sound of flowing water filled the Sombrilla Plaza once again. The fountain was turned off during the fall 2011 semester because it wasted water under Stage II water restrictions.
The fountain was brought back to life thanks to funding provided by UTSA’s Green Fund. The Green Fund is funded by a fee taken from tuition each semester. A fourteen-member committee of UTSA students and faculty, appointed by the Student Government Association, is responsible for determing which sustainability projects to fund.
The committee responded to demand from students for the fountain to be operational. They devised a plan that uses leftover water from air conditioners, known as gray water, to feed the fountain.
Green Fund Committee member and senior multidisciplinary studies major Merced Carbajal voted for the proposal.
“The proposal granted funds to retrofit the Sombrilla fountain and the campus irrigation system to draw their water from the A/C condensate instead of from the Edwards Aquifer,” said Carbajal.
“This is a prime example of what the Green Fund was meant for. We are finding more efficient manners in which to utilize our resources, and we hope to continue this trend.”
The fountain is now fully self-sustainable and therefore not affected by water restrictions.
SGA President Zack Dunn explained his decision to submit the proposal, stating that “I thought the need for a proposal to retrofit the fountain was necessary because the fountain serves as the heart and center of this campus,” said Dunn.
“Many generations of Roadrunners have fond memories of the fountain and it was a collective effort to make sure the tradition was not lost in these years. Seeing it on is something I take great pride and joy in. It was only through the hard work of the students, faculty, staff, and the alumni that the fountain was able to be restored. The heart of the UTSA campus is pumping, and I think everyone is happy to see our campus come more alive because of it.”
The total renovation cost is $300,000. In addition to the $150,000 from the Alumni Foundation and Green Fund, The UTSA Development Office raised the remaining $20,000 required for the first stage of reopening the fountain through donations from alumni, students and faculty.
The rest of the money needed for further renovations has yet to be raised.