November 4, 2015

Hundreds Sign Petition Calling to End Sale of Bottled Water

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Over 620 people have signed a petition as of Wednesday calling to end the sale of bottled water on campus, addressed to President Elizabeth Garrett and the Student Assembly, according to Zeyu Hu ’19.

The petition, which launched Monday evening, is sponsored by the S.A.’s environmental committee and includes signatures from undergraduates, faculty members and alumni.

“The majority of the responses have been positive and supportive,” said Hu, a member of the S.A. environmental committee. “The petition has been generating meaningful discussion about tangible steps to reduce plastic products such as disposable water bottles that enter the campus waste stream.”

The committee’s petition is the latest step in a movement to end the sale of bottled water on campus that began several years ago. In 2010, the S.A. passed a resolution called “Take Back the Tap” which recommended that Cornell take several measures towards limiting the use of bottled water on campus.

The 2010 resolution recommended that the University encourage using refillable bottles, invest in more drinking water infrastructure and take “gradual but concrete steps to end the purchase, sales, and distribution of bottled water on campus and at Cornell-hosted events.”

“While [the] Student Assembly passed this resolution, President Emeritus Skorton left the decision on the ‘Taking Back the Tap’ resolution ambiguous and did not provide a concrete answer,” said Emily Dong ’18, chair of the S.A. environmental committee. “The Environmental Committee thinks this resolution’s goals are still relevant and maybe even more so, especially with other campus sustainability groups working on waste and fossil fuel divestment.”

The committee plans to submit another resolution to the S.A. on ending water bottle sales on campus, according to Hu.

“Our hope is that the support we receive from this petition in tandem with the resolution will show the University students’enthusiasm for moving towards a more sustainable campus,” Hu said.