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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Students for Sustainability’s Dien Truong stresses the importance of water conservation

Caelum Gay

Dien Truong, the Water Committee Chair for Students for Sustainability teaches the UA community to be more mindful with their water usage.

We hear the word sustainability thrown around a lot these days, but rarely does it come with an indication of what it really means or what would constitute the best way of attaining it. We can always start with the basic foundation of life itself, though—good ol’ water.

Water conservation efforts are very important in this day and age, and nobody understands this better than Dien Truong, a junior studying molecular and cellular biology and physiology who also serves as the Water Committee Chair for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona program Students for Sustainability.

“The committee tends to focus on water conservation efforts and water education both on and off campus,” Truong said.

RELATED: UA hosts international event to tackle issues of food and water in the desert

The committee works within the community to try and stress the importance of conserving water and the overall importance of sustainability in general.

“I think sustainability is important because Earth is nearing a tipping point with nowhere to really head back to,” Truong said. “People aren’t as aware of it as they should be and this is not helpful. What’s sad is that my kids will not be able to experience the same Earth that I have been able to experience.”

One of the main efforts the committee now works on is trying to install sustainable water refill stations around campus. These stations can be found around the UA campus, but not all of them have come from the committee.

The committee recently installed a refill station in the Physics and Atmospheric Sciences building and is hoping to create more installation projects soon.

The committee has also helped plan and execute the community garden cistern, located behind Highland Avenue Parking Garage at the UA Community Garden.

At first appearance, the cistern may just look like a giant tin can, but it actually has some pretty cool uses.

“The main purpose of the cistern is to harvest rainwater from the roof of Highland [Avenue Parking] Garage,” Truong said. “The water gets collected by a pipe and then it can be used for sanitary purposes, as well as watering the plants in the community garden.”

The cistern has no filtration system, and therefore you would not want to drink the water it collects, but it still takes us one step closer to overall sustainability.

The structure opened last week and has been a collaboration between many different organizations over several years.

As Water Committee Chair, Truong oversees a group of seven other students and assists them with various projects.

“It’s rewarding because I get to be involved in all the projects and I get to meet a lot of people, so I get to network a lot,” Truong said.

RELATED: Community Garden water cistern benefits sustainability while cutting costs

He said he knew he belonged in the Water Committee the day he joined Students for Sustainability.“Growing up as a swimmer, I wanted to make up for my water waste because pools are such a big waste of water,” Truong said. “I felt a stronger connection to the Water Committee than I did to the other committees, so it seemed like that was where I belonged.”

Truong always does his best to conserve water, and it bothers him when he sees others wasting it.

“We live in such a dry, arid environment, so we want to teach people to be more conservative and more mindful with their water and to use it for more useful purposes,” he said. “We want to think about the future and society as a whole.”

In the future, Truong wants to see the committee take part in more education projects to stress both sustainability and water conservation. He would also like to continue installing the refill stations around campus.

“Serving as Water Committee Chair has given me a great way to give back to the community,” Truong said. 

Follow Alec Kuehnle on Twitter.

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