Wishing Wells
UNIVERSITY Wesleyan University
TAGS water | plastic | waste reduction | events | outdoor
CONTACT Brent Packer <bpacker@wesleyan.edu> | <ttruealcala@wesleyan.edu> | <ngerona@wesleyan.edu>
WEBSITES http://wwells.org


Wishing Wells hydration stations dispense filtered, chilled water for outdoor events requiring only a hose connection and ice. This low-cost, student-designed venture effectively reduces plastic water bottle waste. 


Two Wishing Wells have already been built at Wesleyan University. In just 6 outdoor campus events, Wishing Wells have saved the equivalent of over 10,500 plastic water bottles.


The project first arose via a Wesleyan-sponsored design competition. The University was struggling to find a low-cost way of following its bottled water ban during outdoor campus events such as Reunions, Commencements, and football games. Student teams formed and created their first conceptual drawings. These concepts were judged by a team of Environmental professors, Art professors, and alumni. The finalists were selected and asked to write about their design, assemble a materials list, and create more exact sketches. The winning team was given $1,000 to split between team members. The Wesleyan machine shop built the first two Wishing Wells with slight design updates.

  • Revisit the main goal & simplify. We discussed numerous design additions that would add flair and excitement to the Wishing Wells: solar panels, potted plants, and pot-in-pot evaporative cooling. From the advice of the judges, we scrapped these additions and refined the simplicity of the structure. This simplicity is our main benefit and the reason how were were able to keep our costs so low.

  • Immediately think about benefitting other Universities. A year after designing and implementing Wishing Wells at Wesleyan, we applied for funding to expand Wishing Wells to other Universities. A tremendous amount of planning goes into intercollegiate expansion. We’re excited to be on this path, but as seniors, many of us wish we began planning this earlier. 


Wishing Wells is in the process of open-publishing our design plans online for the benefit of other Universities and organizations to improve on the design and build their own.