Debate on bottled water sales continues

Reporter and Reporter

Although some universities have followed the trend of banning bottled water on campus, the University will not be doing so any time soon.

University Sustainability Coordinator Nick Hennessy said the University doesn’t plan on banning bottled water, but instead is giving students a choice.

He said he wants to focus on educating students about using tap and bottled water. Hennessy feels that tap water is a better way to go but understands why people use bottled water.

“I don’t utilize bottled water personally,” he said. “I’m not going to criticize or attack anyone that does because it’s a matter of individual choice.”

One of the facts Hennessy wants students to know is that tap water is “more than fine for healthy consumption.”

Using reusable water bottles is cheaper than buying bottled water, he said.

Whereas bottled water costs dollars, tap water costs “literally pennies,” Hennessy said.

He wants to give students an alternative to bottled water through the use of water bottle filling stations for reusable bottles, he said. There are currently stations in the Union and Olscamp, but Hennessy wants to expand them to buildings such as the Recreation Center and Perry Field House.

These stations make filling bottles quicker and easier than using water fountains, he said.

Michael Paulus, director of dining services, said he agrees that banning bottled water on campus does not solve the sustainability probem.

Students who get bottled water on campus get it because of its convenience, he said.

For this reason, Paulus said he thinks students will simply buy bottled water elsewhere if it is banned on campus.

Such is the case with sophomore Brooke Crowl. She does not normally buy bottled water on campus, but goes to grocery stores like Wal-Mart for it instead.

Some students who buy their bottled water on campus would be upset if a ban were instituted.

Freshman Spencer Cardona said a ban on bottled water would be inconvenient because people who would still want water would overcrowd the water fountains.

Freshman Ross Hickenbottom, however, doesn’t use bottled water at all, instead using the water fountains on campus.

“I think bottled water is kind of a rip off,” he said.

He said if bottled water were to be banned, he wouldn’t care, as it wouldn’t affect his life.

Even if bottled water were banned on campus, it most likely wouldn’t hurt dining services’ income, Paulus said.

“There’d be a substantial loss of sales, but I’m confident that the sale would move to another product,” he said.

He said instead of an outright ban on bottled water, students who dislike bottled water and its impact on the environment should take it up with the manufacturers themselves.

“I believe in taking the fight to the top,” Paulus said. “That’s where you’re going to get the most impact.”