To access this work you must either be on the Smith College campus OR have valid Smith login credentials.

On Campus users: To access this work if you are on campus please Select the Download button.

Off Campus users: To access this work from off campus, please select the Off-Campus button and enter your Smith username and password when prompted.

Non-Smith users: You may request this item through Interlibrary Loan at your own library.

Publication Date


Document Type


Study Type

EVS 300


Environmental Science and Policy


In this project, we assess students’ behavior towards water on campus and design methods of conservation to target the largest water consumptive behaviors. Analysis of the Smith water bills demonstrates that the largest water uses comes from Smith housing. In order to examine students’ discretionary water use, we focus on residents of non-dining houses. We designed a survey that focused on various behaviors (i.e. brushing teeth, washing face, shaving) involving discretionary water use; in our estimation, running water for these behaviors is equivalent to wasted water. With the help of house presidents, we distributed the survey to 300 residents from six nondining houses. The survey asked students to comment on the frequency and duration of time that they ran water while performing these behaviors. Students responded to additional questions about number of water bottles used per day and other water consumptive behaviors. The results of the survey showed that running water while waiting for a desired temperature (hot/cold), and washing face were the largest consumptive behaviors students performed, while brushing teeth and shaving were the lowest water consumptive behaviors. The immediate significance of these findings identifies the largest consumptive behaviors for targeting students’ water use and conservation should address conservation methods. Other studies should examine the campus-wide attitude towards water and the role of water education in increasing students’ water conservation.


© 2009; Lauren Robertson


Partners on project: Lauren Robertson and Hannah Jaris