Congratulations to Western Washington University! After nearly 3 years of campaigning, WWU has voted to end the sale of bottled water on their campus beginning April 1, 2014.
WWU is now the largest college or university in the state of Washington to end the sale of bottled water on campus, joining Seattle University and Evergreen State College.
The elimination of the sale of bottled water on campus followed a student initiative in spring 2012 that found “selling of bottled water to be an unsustainable practice.” The student initiative also included ways to offset the lost revenue from the sale of bottled water, which was about 10% of all cold beverages sold on campus. The advisory initiative was approved by 73% of students who voted for or against the measure.
WWU joins over 100 colleges and universities who completely ban the sale of plastic water bottles on campus, including the University of Vermont, Brown University, Drake University, Gonzaga University, and Vassar College.
While they have not completely banned the bottle, hundreds of other colleges and universities, including Syracuse University, Dartmouth College, and Princeton University, are working to shift the student culture away from disposable single-serve water bottles towards drinking local and using reusable water bottles. For example, after receiving a grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I), St. Lawrence University in New York is working to create a campus-wide social atmosphere shift away from the use of disposable plastic water bottles. Students working on the project hope that if this shift is achieved, the university will no longer profit from the selling of disposable bottles on campus, and in turn selling bottled water will no longer be an economical option.