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SUNY Students Respond To Another Water Crisis

Fredonia student Matt Neary, pictured, was one of many students carrying a water bottle and/or container around campus due to the boil water order in the village of Fredonia.Photos by Braden Carmen

FREDONIA — Back in the fall of 2020, a three-week-long boil water order made many students at the State University of New York at Fredonia uneasy. Since the latest boil water order issued Sunday morning, students are doing their best to deal with the situation one day at a time.

“We’ve got to go out and get cases of water bottles at Walmart or Tops and sometimes they are sold out. (Some of us) have to get pots to boil water. It’s kind of annoying,” said Jamie Sicardi, a junior studying Communications.

Sicardi was a freshman in 2020 when the last major boil water order impacted the campus. He acknowledged, “You’ve kind of got to get ready for it every year. Two weeks before this, I went out and bought a few cases of water, I had to be prepared.”

Aiden O’Donnell, a freshman studying Music Education, claims he has not been impacted too heavily by the order.

“I can still take a shower, I’ve been brushing my teeth with bottled water. If I have to go back out to Walmart to get more water I’ll be annoyed, but as of right nowa, it’s not that bad, really,” O’Donnell said. “Some people could be freaking out, but I don’t really see the need to.”

These signs, pictured in Dods Hall, have been placed on the water fountains throughout the campus.

Liam Crawford, a freshman studying Liberal Arts, claims, “it’s not dreadful so far.” Crawford said this is the first time he has ever dealt with a boil water order.

“I bought a lot of groceries on my way here. As a freshman, I was preparing to spend as little money on campus as possible, so I came with a lot of drinks beforehand. … But even considering that, it’s still impacting me. I just came from the fitness center where all the water fountains and water dispensers are down, so I couldn’t drink anything. That was terrible,” Crawford said.

Crawford, like other students who spoke on the issue anonymously, acknowledged the financial stress the boil water order adds to college students. According to multiple students, the university offered two bottles of water to students on campus.

“I would definitely say it sucks because if I want to get a water, I either have to get one of the limited ones from the restaurant down here or I have to use real cash out of my wallet to use the vending machine. I think that’s silly,” said Crawford. “If I spend the money for a meal plan, I should get some water out of it.”

Crawford noted that with petitions already circling the campus asking the university to revise the meal plan, the second boil water order in three years adds to the pressure the school is facing. “It’s not fabulous to have both of those back to back,” Crawford said.

The state alert regarding the matter noted there was a disruption in the disinfection treatment, “making the water not safe to drink.” The order — the fifth in the Village of Fredonia since July of 2009 — is expected to last at least through the end of Tuesday, with no definite end as of Monday afternoon.

University officials, in a statement, confirmed they are provident water bottles to students.

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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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