MSUToday
Published: April 25, 2017

MSU Fountain Challenge winners announced

Contact(s): Melissa Downs Department of Fisheries and Wildlife downsmel@msu.edu

The MSU Fountain Challenge, which encourages students to imagine and design the drinking fountain of the future, has announced the winners of its first competition.

Part of the Water Moves MSU initiative, seven teams had the opportunity to present their final designs to a panel of jurors and compete for the top prize of $15,000.

The 2017 winners include:

First Prize – Great Lakes Fountain

The Great Lakes Fountain will stand as both an artistic and educational monument advocating for safe drinking water and the importance of renewable resources in preserving the quality of the Great Lakes. The fountain’s internal waterfall drainage system is not only enjoyable to watch, but also doubles as an educational statement about Michigan’s freshwater system. Any waste material that passes through the drain has the potential to damage the Great Lakes ecosystem. Therefore, it is important to educate the public of all ages on the importance of liquid waste disposal and water conservation. This fountain was designed for the city of East Lansing.

Second Prize – Midland Vision

The design is aimed toward Midland’s tourist and communal view. The water fountain itself is designed for easy access and use regardless of age and physical disability. It’s also focused on easy access for pets. The water fountain will be partially surrounded by two, 5-foot semicircular stone walls made of fieldstones. The interior walls will have water cascading down and recycling beneath the walls back up.

Third Prize – Friendly Fountain

The design significantly improves the existing standard for school drinking fountains. The components will be stored in a panel on the wall that is located above the fountain tray. This allows for wheelchair users to have increased space underneath the fountain for significantly better access. The water fountain will have an option to place a water bottle filler on the side. The team interviewed more than 15 individuals who are visually impaired, physically impaired and below or above the average human height. The goal was to listen to everyone’s experiences with water fountains and use those insights to assist in the fountain redesign.

“What these Michigan State students did so wonderfully was use research, their own experience, the experience of many others, along with humor and a fresh sensibility, to imagine new kinds of water fountains,” said Charles Fishman, one of the Fountain Challenge jurors. “Every one of the finalist fountains we got to review had something special, imaginative and insightful about it that made you smile or give a silent cheer.”

Awards were presented at the Fountain Challenge reception held on April 12 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.

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