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DePauw University bans bottled water, installs filling stations on campus

If you are looking to quench your thirst with a bottle of water, you might want to head over to Walmart. As of May 24, the day after graduation, the sale of bottled water was banned on campus.

The university’s dining services has continued to sell bottle water throughout the summer but will not replenish its stock.

While family, friends and graduates drank over 6,000 bottles of water at the ceremony for the class of 2010, bottled water will no longer be sold in any dining hall locations. However, bottled water will be provided at select university events and there is no ban preventing students from bringing bottled water on campus.

The leader of the bottled water ban movement, sophomore Tyler Hess, said that he is still excited about the ban.

“It’s just incredible,” he said. “I understand that it will be an adjustment regardless of whether or not they supported the ban, but for me, it’s just awesome.”

General Manager of Dining Services Steve Santo said that the ban signaled the end of a money-maker.

“We are losing the sale of bottled water,” he said. “It’s a cheap product that many people buy, because it is a convenience.”

The decision to ban bottled water was announced at the end of last school year. The administration discussed the logistics of the proposal last May. President Brian Casey said the administration felt it was a reasonable proposal.

“The changes it will have – it’s difficult to predict,” Casey said. “I suspect we’ll feel our way through it.”

However, many students did not have time to voice their reactions, as the announcement came on the penultimate day of finals.

Vice President of Student Life Cindy Babington said that she hadn’t heard many negative reactions to the ban.

“I haven’t had a huge opportunity to talk to students or hear about their reactions, I just know that there was a lot of student and faculty and staff support for the initiative when it all came about in the spring.”

In order to adjust to the lack of bottled water on campus, DePauw will provide hard-plastic, reusable water bottles for all incoming freshmen. In addition to the water bottles, all residence halls and various buildings around campus will be equipped with filling stations.

A detailed explanation of DePauw’s efforts to go green will be outlined on Aug. 22 during a freshmen luncheon discussing campus sustainability.

Hess has not heard a lot of criticism to the ban, but he expects that some might emerge as students realize the total effects of the ban.

“I haven’t heard any this summer,” Hess said. “A few people have contacted me to say that their families have banned bottled water after hearing about this. I also have received a few links about bottled water from friends. But I expect the first two to three weeks to be difficult. However, it’s just water.”

Santo said he is indifferent about the ban, but he is impressed by the power of the students who were involved with the project.

“I’m OK with it,” he said. “The students voiced their opinion, the administration voted, and this is what happened.”

– Christine DiGangi contributed to this story

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