Story by Ashley Beall
Photo by Lauren Horsch
Last Tuesday President David Maxwell announced that as of next fall semester there will be no more water bottles for sale on campus. Bottled water will still be sold at sporting events because of obligations made by contracts, but it will no longer be available anywhere else on campus.
This decision was made due to the LEAD capstone students in Professor of Adult Learning and Organizational Performance, Tom Westbrook’s class. They kick-started the movement and were able to get the support of Student Senate behind them as they moved forward with this idea. They also had about 800 students sign a petition to remove bottled water. With this announcement, many people on campus are standing behind this decision and are in favor of it.
“I was pleased with this announcement. I applaud the fact that this is a student initiative. It’s nice to know that we have a voice on campus,” first-year Nick Baker said. “Also, I see this as a great chance for Drake to enhance their green image. Bottled water seems to be an unnecessary expense when so many of us have reusable water bottles.”
Baker’s response is similar to those of other Drake students and other colleges throughout the nation. Drake now stands amongst more than 100 other colleges who have also chosen to follow this initiative on their campus and helping the environment. In the email sent out to the student body by Maxwell, one of his statistics states: “Transporting water around the country (or around the world, in the case of Fiji water, which really does come from Fiji) involves significant consumption of hydrocarbon fuels, depleting those resources and contributing to atmospheric degradation.”
“I like the idea. I think people buy a water bottle and throw it away without thinking about how they are hurting the environment with the thought of: It’s just one water bottle,” first-year Tricia Trimble said. “Plus this could help people save some money by carrying a reusable water bottle with them instead of buying one.”
However, not all Drake students are as enthused as Trimble and Baker. Other students feel as if this is an idea that won’t necessarily help effect the environment or make any sort of significant change.
“In theory it is a good idea, they want us to start reusing water-bottles and ‘save the planet’ from all of the plastic trash we throw away. I don’t however forsee these results coming from this decision,” first-year Brandon Jenkins said. “I think the people who were going to reuse their water bottles have been and will continue to do so, but everyone else will either buy them elsewhere or complain a lot. I don’t see any real noticeable change coming from this.”
This student-led operation seemed to have the student body behind them, but the fact is there are students on the opposite end of the spectrum for this decision and will not be thrilled about the outcome of this initiative. Student Senate plans to lend a hand to these nay-sayers and the rest of the undergraduate, P1 and P2 students by distributing free reusable water bottles next fall semester.