Loyola to ban bottled water sales on campus

By Ana Cordova

Bottled water will no longer be sold at Loyola University Chicago.

The university made the announcement Thursday in the wake of an earlier student vote to ban bottled water sales on campus.

The ban will begin this fall.

The vote was 56.7% in favor of the ban and 43.3% opposed, according to results released March 29 by the Unified Student Government Association following a two-day election.

The student vote was simply an advisory referendum, and not binding Loyola administrators to starting clearing the campus store shelves of water bottles and shutting down the vending machines.

But newly elected Unified Student Government Association president Julia Poirier,  who championed the bottled water referendum in the recent student election, worked with Loyola administrators to move forward with the ban.

Here is the formal announcement released Thursday by the university:

Following a year-long educational campaign, “UnCap Loyola,” on March 28, 2012, a majority of students passed a referendum to phase out bottled water on Loyola University Chicago’s campuses. The campaign, led by the Student Environmental Alliance (SEA), in partnership with Loyola’s Unified Student Government Association (USGA), was focused on the growing concern on campus about local water privatization and  fair access to water on a global level.

“We consider the sale of bottled water on campus in conflict with the Jesuit tradition and Loyola’s mission ‘to be in service of humanity through learning, justice and faith.’ We feel that safe and accessible water is a fundamental human right and must not be handled in ways that put profits over people,” SEA and USGA representatives said in a joint statement.

Following a colloquium on the topic of water, which was conducted by the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy (CUERP) in April 2010, and a week-long series of events on campus, the students felt the time was right to take action regarding the social justice, environmental, and economical implications associated with bottled water. The year-long, “UnCap Loyola” campaign included film showings, public service announcements, personal pledges, and distribution of reusable water bottles.

In addition, Loyola’s administration has supported water conservation efforts on campus by distributing reusable bottles to students and guests, installing 35 bottle refill stations at key locations around the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses and implementing water conservation projects in buildings and on the grounds of Loyola.

“It is exciting to see the leadership and commitment from the students on the topic of water,” said Aaron Durnbaugh, director of sustainability at Loyola. “With our location on the banks of the greatest fresh water resource in the world, our drinking water could be taken for granted, but the students recognize its value and our responsibility to protect and preserve this resource for all.”

The next steps in this campaign to phase out bottled water on campus will be the removal of bottled water from dining service venues and catering starting fall 2012. Bottled water will then be removed from vending and other contracts in 2013.

Loyola is committed to the continued education of the Loyola community on water supply and conservation topics in the protection of Lake Michigan and regional water resources through faculty and student research and coursework.


One thought on “Loyola to ban bottled water sales on campus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s