Under the “Bottled Water Free” initiative led by students of Western Washington University, bottled water will no longer be sold or distributed on campus beginning April 1, 2014.
The group, Students for Sustainable Water at Western, say that selling bottled water is unsustainable and unnecessary in a region where tap water is clean. One student member said in an official press release:
Bottled water and water privatization is detrimental to the environment, to human rights to water, and simply doesn’t make sense in a region where we have clean, amazing tap water. When WWU implements this change, we will proudly support our local water source, Lake Whatcom, and be a leader in standing up against water privatization in the United States and around the world. This change is important because it means upholding Western’s values in sustainability and social justice.
Environmental activism has long been a part of WWU’s campus. A release from the Office of Communications and Marketing states that WWU created Huxley College of the Environment over 40 years ago and a student-run recycling program began in 1971. More recently in 2005, another student initiative went into effect collecting a “student fee for the purchase of green energy” to “offset all of its electricity use.” This “Green Energy Fee” also funds water bottle refill stations across campus.