University leadership addresses student petition
THE SANTA CLARA
May 8, 2014
After several month-long campaigns to raise awareness about the negative impacts of bottled water, the Office of the President is now in support of initiatives aimed at reducing the sale of plastic bottles water on campus.
The Think Outside the Bottle Campaign, an offshoot of Corporate Accountability International, garnered around 900 signatures on a petition to discontinue the sale of bottled water on campus due to the environmental and societal problems they cause.
The campaign submitted its proposal to the Office of the President earlier this year. The proposal called attention to the fact that bottled water encourages the privatization of water supplies and the production of bottled water uses a large amount of oil and water.
“Some of our suggestions within the proposal were to work to implement better availability of tap water for students, at departments offices and at events,” said Amy Carlton, a member of the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign. “Our main suggestion was to implement a policy to phase out spending on and distribution of bottled water.”
According to Jane Barrantes, assistant vice president of Auxiliary Services, the department does not wish to discontinue the sale of bottled water on campus, but supports taking steps toward making tap water more readily available.
“We very much want to support reducing the demand for bottled water and educating the public on (their) responsibilities for recycling and using reusable containers,” Barrantes said.
The Office of the President has not released an official statement in response to the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign’s proposal, but is expected to do so in the future.
“We hope that the president’s office supports our proposal, which highlights the social injustices and negative environmental effects of bottled water,” said senior Kelsey Baker, leader of the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign. “We plan to work hard to make Santa Clara bottled water-free and stand behind our Jesuit values and vision statement, and we hope that the president’s office does too.”
Barrantes said the sale of bottled water on campus should continue because ending the sale of water bottles would take away the choice of a healthy drink option.
“Bottled water is healthy,” Barrantes said. “It is something readily available at any place outside of campus, and an administrative decision to be made to eliminate choice on campus is not something that we are supportive of. There are certainly valid reasons why people would choose water over other drinks, and multiple drinks are sold in similar containers.”
Auxiliary Services has submitted a seven-step proposal to the Office of the President as a part of the 2014 Climate Neutrality Action Plan intended to make water readily available on campus.
These steps include making water bottle filling stations more accessible, providing free water in compostable jugs rather than bottled water for catered events and implementing social awareness programs to promote issues surrounding the production of bottled water.
“We are also going to reduce the shelf space of water stocks in different dining locations so that they will be 20 percent of the available beverage space or less,” Barrantes said.
Barrantes also said that every resident moving in next fall will be given a free reusable water bottle when they check into housing.
In addition, on-campus dining locations will be selling reusable water bottles.
Contact Sophie Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.