Stonehill To Phase Out Unnecessary Spending on Bottled Water
September 08, 2011
At the urging of students concerned about the environmental effects of bottled water, Stonehill College is working to phase out unnecessary spending on bottled water and to increase the availability of tap water on campus and at College events.
The students successfully argued that bottled water wastes energy and undermines public confidence in tap and public water. Moreover, every year, millions of discarded plastic bottles add to already packed landfills.
"We applaud the steps students and staff have taken together to pass this important resolution," said Kristin Urquiza, director of Corporate Accountability International's Think Outside the Bottle Campaign.
"By going bottled water free on campus, the College joins five states, more than 125 cities, and almost a dozen universities that have passed these policies for the benefit of public water systems, taxpayers, and the environment. We look forward to seeing the state of Massachusetts take similar steps to eliminate the spending of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a non-essential use of our most essential resource," added Urquiza.
Since September 2010, students in Stonehill's Activism Club worked to rally campus support for the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign. A national public education group, Corporate Accountability International promotes, protects and ensures public funding for America's public water systems. Stonehill's Activism Club also worked with on-campus groups such as the Environmental Stewardship Council and the Student Government Association on this initiative.
With wide-spread support from students and faculty for the campaign, students persuaded senior administrators to change the College's bottled water policy.
For the Activism Club students, bottled water is not just an environmental issue but also a social justice one as access to water is a growing challenge in communities across the globe.
"Worldwide, one in six people lack access to safe water and, increasingly, water is defined as a costly commodity, not as a human right or a public good as it has been historically," noted Activism Club member and recent graduate Lauren DeRusha.
A driving force behind Stonehill's Think Outside the Bottle Campaign, DeRusha arrived in Ecuador this month on a Fulbright Full Grant. There she is implementing a water filtration system to help the country's many citizens who do not have access to clean water.
"In their dedication to this issue, our students have been true to Stonehill's mission as a Catholic college, which is to develop young women and men to think, act, and lead with courage toward creating a more just and compassionate world. I am proud of what they have accomplished and how they have accomplished it," noted College President Mark T. Cregan, C.S.C.
Stonehill has committed to a timeline to increase the availability of tap water on campus and at events, and to end all unnecessary budget spending on bottled water. Among the initial steps:
• Ten bottle filler spouts have been installed on existing water fountains at locations across the campus
• Four more bottle filler sprouts are scheduled to be installed shortly
• At College events with fewer than 50 people, pitchers of water will be served instead of bottled water. For larger events, pitchers will be the encouraged option
• All catering locations on campus will be purchasing sufficient numbers of pitchers to support the new policy
• Visiting speakers will henceforth receive reusable water bottles instead of disposable ones
• The on-campus bookstore now sells discounted steel water bottles so that students have an alternative to disposable plastic ones
• Members of the Activism Club and the Environmental Stewardship Committee will continue their education outreach on the wastefulness of bottled water and in identifying new ways of improving access to tap water on campus.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.