Last year, Loyola University Chicago made a move to encourage its students to use reusable water bottles. During the fall, the school gave freshman reusable bottles and installed more water refill stations throughout the year.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Loyola will continue to move forward towards ending the sale of water bottles across the university. Next fall, bottled water will not longer be sold in cafeterias nor retail locations. By 2013, Loyola intends to stop selling bottled water in vending machines.
Loyola’s ban comes on the heels of a year-long educational campaign called “UnCap Loyola.” The educational campaign focused on the environmental and social implications of bottling and selling water. Students voiced their support in a March referendum.
Alexandra Vecchio, a 20-year-old Loyola senior and incoming president of the Student Environmental Alliance, told The Chicago Tribune, “Access to clean and safe water is a human right. When a corporation comes in and bottles that water and that water becomes privatized and is sold back to the people, then they lose access to the water. … What happens to the people who can’t afford it?”
However, not everyone is on board with the initiative. Tim Bramlet, Executive Director of the Illinois Beverage Association, told The Chicago Tribune, “Water is good for you, is the bottom line. In most cases, people would be encouraging others to drink water rather than making it harder for students and faculty to get their hands on it.”
The movement to ban water bottles has also been springing up on other college campuses across the nation. Redeye Chicago reports that about 90 colleges across the country have banned or are curbing the sale of bottled water on their campuses. Additionally, other Chicago colleges are joining the movement. Columbia College has begun to add water refilling stations.
Julia Poirier, Loyola Student Body President, told Redeye, “I feel like we are leading the charge on the issue in Chicago. I know a lot of schools have reached out to us because they’re interested in the movement.”