Take Back the Tap encourages University to follow EMU in going bottled water free

Since August of 2011, something has been missing from the EMU: bottled water. While people can still purchase Smart Water in the Union Market and Aquafina from the vending machines, the rest of the building is strictly bottled water free. And while there have been a few complaints, usually from people who don’t attend the University, it seems as if people have found ways to quench their thirst other than purchasing a Dasani.

This being said, why is it that Take Back the Tap, a campaign against bottled water on campus, is still fighting to be heard? According to University sopohomore and campaign coordinator for Take Back the Tap, Megan Gleason, it is because students’ voices aren’t being heard. @@*[email protected]@

On Friday, the campaign was informed that President Michael Gottfredson vetoed the policy. @@[email protected]@

“The administration is blatantly ignoring the 72 percent of students who voted for Take Back the Tap in the Spring election,” she said.

Gleason explained that the campaign only needs to get approval from the University president’s cabinet in order to pass the idea into law but she feels as if things are at a standstill.

“We were told that (the vote) wasn’t indicative of the real voice of students because students still buy bottled water,” she said. “This answer isn’t satisfactory to me.”

Gleason, who has been with Take Back the Tap since last year, said the campaign is not over and they still intend to find a way to get rid of bottled water on campus.

Even without the campaign passing, the EMU voluntarily decided to remove bottled water anyway, according to EMU Director of Food Service Allen Faigin. @@[email protected]@

“You have to go out of your way to buy bottled water,” Faigin said. “The water in Eugene is more pure than bottled water and it is free. It makes more sense not to buy it.”

The EMU is currently waiting to remove bottled water from vending machines because it is part of a different contract. They are even trying to remove “faux” water such as Smart Water and Earth2.0, which have fallen through the cracks because they are marketed as enriched water.

“People buy water out of a force of habit,” Faigin said. “It is a matter of choice, and comes down to our customers’ choices.”

Though the EMU is doing its part to cut back on bottled water, Gleason would still like to see a campus-wide change.

“Students spoke to the change they want to see,” she said. “The UO should be a leader in sustainability.”

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