Bottled water sales banned on Bemidji State University campus by student senate


There's a good chance plain bottled water will no longer be sold on the Bemidji State University campus.

The schools' Student Senate voted Wednesday to ban sales of the product starting in the fall of 2016, citing four main reasons:

  1. It's unsustainable.
  2. Students, faculty and staff spend $15,000 on campus purchasing bottled water every year.
  3. The university, as an environmental steward, should not support the bottled water industry's "attempt to deny the basic human right" of access to clean drinking water.
  4. The city of Bemidji's water has been found safe to drink.

The only exception will be at Chet Anderson Stadium. The proposal still needs to get past top school administration officials, but the Bemidji Pioneer notes the unanimous passing means there is "strong incentive" for support.

Has this been done elsewhere?

The Bemidji Pioneer notes it's the first school in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to take such a step.

The College of Saint Benedict and Macalester are the other two campuses in the state to have banned bottled water sales, according to the Ban the Bottle website.

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A movement at St. Olaf called Take Back the Tap began about four years ago, but it's unclear whether a ban has been fully implemented.

The BSU Student Senate has been considering this for awhile, asking way back in 2011 what students thought of the idea.

Free reusable bottles available

It will be OK for a student to bring bottled water on to the campus – it just can't be purchased there.

However, the BSU Sustainability Office gives out free reusable water bottles and mugs to all incoming freshmen and transfer students (and has been doing so since 2009). Any left over at the end of the fall semester are up for grabs, for all students.

There are a handful of filling stations (like the one pictured at right) scattered throughout campus too.

The goal: reduce plastic bottles, and cups made of Styrofoam or paper.

Aramark, the university's food provider, has said 375-400 bottles of water are sold on campus every week.

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