After years of dedicated service, the Water Cooler says goodbye to the WHUS lobby to begin their life in retirement.

The Water Cooler specialized in providing cool and hot water for WHUS members for those quenching moments during a radio show or for those desperate times in need of some hot chocolate.

Before departing, WHUS Operations Manager Shira Tall says the radio station sent them off with a retirement party.

“We had a nice retirement party in the alumni center, everyone wishing the Water Cooler well. We had a nice, little dinner and a few remarks. I said something. Amanda said something. I think everyone who was there said something actually, now that I think about it. No one had anything mean to say. Everyone had something nice to say about this Water Cooler,” Tall says.

Program Coordinator Jason McMullan says the Water Cooler will be taking some time for themselves during retirement.

“My understanding is that Cooler is going to spend more time with their family and focus on some creative projects that have had to take a back seat as they often do when one is fulfilling a professional role that is demanding in the way that being a water cooler which has to be in the lobby 24 hours a day is,” McMullan says.

During their time at the station, the Water Cooler touched many hearts and lives of those who call WHUS home.

“The Water Cooler was very influential during our time together at WHUS. I saw the Water Cooler as a mentor and was very lucky to have received a letter of recommendation from the Water Cooler, so hopefully, I’ll be able to get a job after graduation because of the mentorship that I received from the Water Cooler. I will greatly miss them,” Promotions Director Bailey Shea says.

“So, one particularly distinct memory I have with the water cooler is they actually taught me how to drink water. You know, I make no qualms about it, I’m a 21-year-old man. For the last maybe 20 years of my life, I did not know what water was. I was a big Gatorade, Coca-Cola, Crush… and lo and behold, I’m in this job, and I see this Water Cooler with some liquid in it. I’m like, ‘Oh, is that like clear Gatorade? Oh, is that some clear weird liquid?’ And it turns out it was actually water that I had been reading so much about in like Planet Earth, documentaries like that. I got a cup, I gave it a little taste, and would you believe? It tastes so good, and I’m not joking. This is not a joke. I drink water to this day. I like to think that it’s because of the water cooler that I’m so wet,” Talk Director Drew Marina says.

Photo: Daniela Doncel

“So, my fondest memory of the Water Cooler was when I didn’t know how to get hot water from them, and so Barb told me I had to use the little red nozzle thingy, and I tried to use it, but then I also did that wrong. So, Barb helped me figure it out, and then I made myself a tea, so I’m really going to miss the hot water from the Water Cooler. I don’t know who I’m going to make my tea with now. It’s very sad. My heart is breaking,” Assistant Training Director Ally Urban says.

“So, I actually have a very personal story about the Water Cooler. A lot of the constituents may not know this, but earlier this year I went through a very harrowing divorce… The Water Cooler was there to help me through it all. At one point, I had to take the kids to the office, and Water Cooler was there the whole time. He made them balloon animals in the office, and it was really heartwarming. I will never be grateful enough to them,” Inventory Specialist Aidan Brueckner says.

With the Water Cooler now gone from the station, Tall says applications are now out for new water coolers to take on the position.

“It is a pretty competitive process. Hiring is actually on JobX…or on UConn Vendor Services, I believe, I’m not sure who exactly is doing the hiring, so if anyone else is interested in applying for the position, I would definitely encourage all the other coolers out there to apply. It’s pretty competitive, I got to say. You have to be able to have both heating and cooling in your system. Not everyone can do that. I believe it’s a five gallon requirement. You know, it’s pretty competitive, but if you think you have what it takes, I would recommend definitely applying for the position,” Tall says.

Tall says the Water Cooler was an incredible employee, working 24/7, almost as constant as the FM airwaves. Not only was the Water Cooler a great employee, they were also a friend.

“I think the Water Cooler was truly one of those people that touched everyone. I think everyone really got a lot of benefit, and they really just gave back to the station. There’s a lot of selfless people, and I think the Water Cooler was probably one of the most selfless people I know,” Tall says.

From all of us here at WHUS Radio, we wish you the best in your retirement, Water Cooler.  

*For the record, the water cooler is, in fact, gone. However, the stories shared in this article are fictitious. April Fool’s!*

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