January 30, 2013

Fees & Filters Added to Campus

Filling up reusable water bottles became easier for the Dickinson community over winter break. Facilities Management began installing new water-bottle filling stations around campus, leading to a current total of 15 filtration systems. In order to promote the use of the filters and reusable water bottles, the Devil’s Den and other Dickinson services now charge a dollar extra for individual plastic water bottles. The hope for the Dickinson community is to wean itself off of plastic water bottle usage altogether.

“In the future, we hope to give out reusable water bottles at Earthfest and Orientation so that everyone in all grades has one,” said Sam Bogan ’16, a member of the Take Back the Tap (TBTT) campaign. The campaign’s objective is to reduce plastic water bottle usage in order to promote student and environmental health. “The water is then wrapped in a plastic covering made from petrochemicals that, when heated, break down and leach toxins and carcinogens into the already bottled water. No one tests the water after it has left the factory and is sitting on a shelf,” explained Madison Beehler ’15, another TBTT participant.

“It is time that we all recognize that TBTT is not only about a decrease in the number of plastic water bottles consumed on campus. TBTT is a stand against water privatization and environmental degradation,” said Heather Livingston ’13. Livingston is the house manager of the Social Justice House, one of the groups to which TBTT members presented their research.

Student activists in the campaign created posters and are working with ALLARM to make informational fliers about tap water regulations. In addition, the group created a presentation to educate Dickinson clubs and organizations on the project’s objectives and benefits.

“Buying reusable water bottles will help students save money,” Bogan said. The Dickinson Bookstore sells reusable water bottles from $12-20. TBTT members hope that the Dickinson community will see the economic benefit of buying a reusable product. They will be working with economics professor Nicola Tynan in order to monitor and water bottle sales across campus.

“It really depends because they might think of the immediate price of the water bottles. If you think about the price over time, then more people will buy reusable water bottles,” said Ellie Was ’14. Was feels that recycling is a choice and she is uncertain of the extent to which the surcharge will affect sales.

“I think it is a good idea but I don’t think it will change how many people buy them,” said Alexis Freidlander ’15.

Many students are skeptical about the effects of the surcharge and some consumers find it to be an inconvenience, albeit a tolerable one.

“It is good but sometimes I just want a plastic water bottle. It also actually makes me want to bring in my reusable one and fill it up at one of the filling stations, though,” said Nick Dellavecchia ’16.

The reusable filling stations are available in the Holland Union Building, the Kline Center, library, Kaufman Hall, Rector Science Building, Morgan Hall, Witwer Hall, Adams Hall, Goodyear, Bosler Hall, Denny Hall, Quarry, on the residential quads and on the academic quad outside Old West.