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Kellogg Elementary Students ‘Rethink the Drink’ with New Water Refill Stations

The school's students and teachers also receive stainless steel bottles, just in time for Friday's Jog-a-Thon fundraiser

Kellogg Elementary School in Goleta worked with community partners to install bottle refilling stations and hand out reusable bottles to every student and teacher just in time for this week’s Jog-a-Thon.

It’s one of the first Goleta Union School District campuses to get water refill stations through the Community Environmental Council’s Rethink the Drink program, which already has installed dozens of them in schools and after-school locations such as Girls Inc. and the Page Youth Center to reduce plastic bottle use.

Principal Kim Bruzzese and PTA treasurer Janis Gamble petitioned the CEC for the refill stations and asked the nearby Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club to donate stainless steel bottles to the entire school.

Swell Athletic Clubs’ Eric Geeb was great,” Gamble said. “He just asked how many we needed and ordered them for us.”

Bruzzese said having the bottles and refill stations in time for Friday’s Jog-a-Thon means the school can forgo buying hundreds of plastic cups and water bottles as it usually does.

The annual Jog-a-Thon is the PTA’s largest fundraiser with a goal of $30,000, which would expand music, art, physical education and computer programs beyond what the district supports, Gamble said.

“There are a lot of districts where these things are the first to go,” Bruzzese said.

The fundraiser also funds classroom technology, one bus field trip per grade, cultural arts assemblies and grant reimbursements to teachers for supplies.

Students will be running and walking — with dance breaks — on Friday morning to raise money.

“The whole point is to keep your body moving for 30 minutes,” Bruzzese said.

If the students can raise $30,000, she will do something wild — chosen by the PTA. Last year at El Camino Elementary, before she transferred to Kellogg, she dyed her hair blue in front of all the students, she said.

After the Jog-a-Thon, they hope students will carry the bottles around and hydrate all day, and the three stations have counters on them to show how many plastic bottles have been saved.

Rethink the Drink water refill stations are sensor-activated and disperse cold, filtered water. The program started in 2010 and aims to reduce plastic water bottle use at schools. It’s funded mostly by the Orfalea Foundation’s School Food Initiative and a grant last year from Jack Johnson’s Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation added additional schools to this year’s list, according to the CEC.

The CEC already has installed refill stations in Foothill Elementary School and soon will install them at Brandon Elementary, said Kathi King, who oversees Rethink the Drink. She added that they’ve submitted a grant application to cover two more elementary schools and Goleta Valley Junior High School by the end of 2013.

Once installations are done, the CEC leads educational assemblies for students. Fewer than one-fourth of plastic water bottles are recycled, tap water is held to higher safety standards than bottled water, and water is a healthier beverage choice for students, King said.

Stations have been installed at almost every Santa Barbara Unified School District campus, with McKinley Elementary, Washington Elementary and La Cumbre Junior High schools added this year.

“We’re also doing at least one at Dos Pueblos High School in the next month,” King said.

The CEC also soon will add three in Lompoc elementary schools.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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