Student fountain challenge kicks off in concert with Water Moves MSU

posted on October 3, 2016 12:44pm

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The 2016 Stockholm Water Prize recipient Joan Rose has issued a challenge to Michigan State University students: Design a water fountain that does more than serves up fresh, clean water.


“Water fountains serve as a community gathering space, providing access to wholesome water in public spaces,” said Rose, a professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. “In the face of increasing concerns over water contaminants, a redesign of the modern drinking fountain can bring people together.”


Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to form teams to design the water fountain of the future in one of three categories: community fountain, school drinking fountain and emergency response. Three grand prizes will be awarded to student teams – first will garner $15,000; second place, $7,000 and third $5,000.


“We know that the answers to some of the most important questions – like maintaining clean drinking water in all situations – are right here on this campus. Our students represent the next generation of problem solvers,” Rose said.


A closer look at the three categories –


Community Fountain: A central fountain can provide a sense of place, safe water and public art. Teams in this category will partner with a community to design a new artistic central fountain that incorporates public drinking water and the needs of that community. This fountain might be used in multiple spaces or be designed to a specific space, community or theme.


School Drinking Fountain: Students need access to sustainable safe drinking water at school, playgrounds and other public spaces. Your team will design a new drinking fountain concept that provides easy access for students, and encourages them to choose water and teaches them about this precious resource.


Emergency Response: Portable water sources are needed for emergencies. Teams in this category will design a drinking water fountain/delivery system that can easily fill reusable containers, be deployed during emergencies and be used in a variety of conditions and locations such as when electricity is unavailable, public water is unusable or the service area is flooded.


Written proposals are due Dec. 1, 2016. More information is available at


The contest is part of Water Moves MSU thematic year ( As a globally engaged, research-intensive university, Water Moves MSU strives to be a leader in science, technology, art and innovation to shape a better tomorrow in the Great Lakes and beyond.