Student-Led Plastic Bottled Water Campaign
Embracing Seattle U’s mission that students graduate as competent leaders for a just and humane world, many students exercised leadership during the three-year campaign to discontinue the sale of plastic bottled water from campus. As one group of students graduated, each year a new group of undergraduates stepped forward to keep the torch burning on this important social justice issue. Professor Gary Chamberlain was the students’ inspiration and cheerleader through discussing the ethics of the global water crisis in his Religion and Ecology class and his book Troubled Waters: Religion, Ethics and the Global Water Crisis.
In June 2008, Nick McCarvel and Gretchenrae Callanta, both seniors in the Ignatian Honorary Leadership Society, convinced the vice presidents of finance and student development to agree to phase out bottled water sales on campus - provided the students educated the campus on the issue and provided water alternatives. In the following two academic years, many students were involved in putting up posters, creating an educational display in the Quad, conducting bottled versus tap water taste tests, and collecting more than 1,000 signatures in support of the campaign. During the 2009-2010 academic year the Facilities department installed bottle fillers and filters on 31 water fountains.
The final push was led by Spencer Black, co-president of student club Natural Leaders for Environmental Justice, during the 2009-2010 academic year. Spencer and students Will Piro, Carli Redfield, and Carey De-Victoria attended the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative on the commitment that Seattle U would stop selling bottled water. They brought their initiative to Jesse David, ASSU President, who helped pass the student government resolution in support. Then the students received endorsement from Academic Assembly, which represents faculty. In June 2010, the university’s Executive Team agreed to remove plastic bottled water from campus the following September.
Water bottle ban complete (Oct. 13, 2010)
Editorial: Bottled water doesn't have a place at Seattle University (April 7, 2010)
Support flows in for Ban the Bottle Campaign (April 7, 2010)
'Ban the Bottle' shifts campaign model (Nov. 19, 2009)
Editorial: 'Ban the Bottle' must be next green priority (May 6, 2009)
Eco-conscious students unite to 'Ban the Bottle' (April 15, 2009)
Banning the bottle (Feb. 18, 2009)
Selling bottled water as ridiculous as selling air (Feb. 20, 2008)
The Commons Articles
Bye Bye Bottle (Oct. 10, 2010, The Commons)