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Testing Water Fountain Quality On Penn State’s Campus

One of the most important things you can put in your body is water. Whether you’re hydrating after walking 10 miles across campus, rewarding your body after a great workout, or battling yet another gameday weekend hangover, water is always there for you when no one else is.

At a place as big as Penn State, there are hundreds of water fountains to choose from. But we here at Onward State wanted to know just how Penn State’s water fountains stack up.

So, like any normal college students, we ordered a water purity test on our mom’s Amazon Prime account to test and see just how pure our water is. This particular piece of equipment measures the amount of organic and inorganic materials that are dissolved in water and provides a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) score.

The figure below classifies the purity of water based on the TDS score shown on the meter. As an added bonus, it also measures temperature.

So, without further ado, let’s see how pure our water fountains are, shall we?

Dining Commons

1) Findlay — TDS Score: 157, Temperature: 68 F

2) Redifer — TDS Score: 164, Temperature: 68 F

3) Warnock — TDS Score: 175, Temperature: 68 F

4) Pollock — TDS Score: 184, Temperature: 62 F

5) Waring — TDS Score: 192, Temperature: 66 F

The dining halls passed the water purity test, but there’s room for improvement Findlay tops all as the lowest score, while Waring is flirting with failure. However, you have to respect how low these temperatures are. It wouldn’t be ideal to drink a warm cup of water while chowing down on chicken thigh halal for the fourth time in a week.


1) Rec Hall — TDS Score: 163, Temperature: 66 F

2) White Building — TDS Score: 188, Temperature: 71F

3) IM Building — TDS Score: 208, Temperature: 68 F

In arguably the most important buildings to get some high-quality H2O, the results for the gyms’ water purity are striking. IM records our first failing grade, dropping the ball in the “poor purity” category of our illustrious water scale. The White Building is also on the brink of disaster but just managed to get by. However, there is some good water at the home of Penn State wrestling, which, honestly, makes a lot of sense.


1) Paterno — TDS Score: 153, Temperature: 66 F

2) Pattee — TDS Score: 173, Temperature: 64 F

It seems only right that Paterno Library had the best score amongst all buildings tested on campus. They should bring back make a statue for such an achievement. Pattee, although 20 points behind, does trump Paterno in temperature. The question still remains: Which side of the library is the front?


1) Pollock Testing Center — TDS Score: 156, Temperature: 69 F (nice)

2) Willard — TDS Score: 162, Temperature 66 F

3) Business — TDS Score: 164, Temperature: 64 F

4) Thomas — TDS Score: 171, Temperature: 71 F

5) Forum — TDS Score: 175, Temperature: 62 F

6) Westgate — TDS Score: 186, Temperature: 73 F

7) Chemical & Biomedical Engineering — TDS Score: 188, Temperature: 70 F

8) Chambers — TDS Score: 190, Temperature: 74 F

9) HUB — TDS Score: 201, Temperature: 64 F

10) Sparks — TDS Score: 209, Temperature: 64 F

Obviously, we couldn’t go to every building and test every water fountain, but we picked out some of the most popular buildings here at University Park. The results were fascinating. Pollock Testing Center took first place, so that leads us to believe that the water is the only good thing coming from there. Willard and Smeal aren’t too far behind. However, the HUB and Sparks both received failing grades. Sparks may get a pass for how old that building is, but the HUB…that’s frightening.

Overall, Penn State does an average job in the water fountain purity department. There are plenty of places to quench your thirst that provide pure water. However, your Brita may be the best option for high-quality H2O here in Happy Valley.

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About the Author

Tobey Prime

Tobey is a junior studying broadcast journalism from Lancaster, PA. He is a major Pittsburgh sports fan and Miami Heat fanatic. When Tobey isn't writing for Onward State, you can catch him looking at photos of his pugs. Send your best insults to [email protected] or sports takes to @tobey_prime on Twitter.

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