San Juan, PR
As a student the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, Amira Odeh saw that students were buying disposable plastic water bottles because of the poor condition of water fountains on campus. Odeh had experienced the impacts of water scarcity when she was growing up in Puerto Rico’s Bayamón municipality, so she decided to try to change her peers’ wasteful habits.
She spearheaded a successful campaign to get the university to install new drinking fountains in every building. She also worked to educate students about the impacts of using disposable water bottles. More students now drink tap water available for free on campus. Odeh believes her most significant accomplishment has been to get the university to commit to maintain the condition of campus water fountains and consider a proposal to ban the sale of nonreusable water bottles on campus. Odeh’s campaign is the first environmental change campaign on a Puerto Rican college campus instigated by students, instead of the university itself.