Bottled water will no longer be sold at Hampshire College or distributed at campus events.
This latest sustainability effort at Hampshire began as a student initiative. Last year, students worked both to halt the sale of bottled water and to educate the entire campus community about its environmental and economic costs.
In addition to the environmental impact of producing and transporting plastic bottles, huge numbers of them make their way into garbage rather than being recycled.
Consumers who buy bottled water often do so in the belief that it is somehow cleaner or healthier than tap water, which is far less expensive and actually as safe, clean, and healthy—or more so. To test and demonstrate this, hydrology professor Christina Cianfrani collected water samples at eight locations on the Hampshire campus. The samples were analyzed using EPA standard methods. All indicated that drinking water quality on campus is excellent.
The ending of bottled water sales on campus coincides with the installation of new hydration stations. New Leaf, a student group, wrote a proposal to purchase the hydration stations and was awarded an $11,000 grant for that purpose by the Committee on Community Development (COCD), a subcommittee of student government.
Physical plant personnel have begun installing the hydration stations, with one now on the first floor of the Cole Science building and a second in the Robert Crown Center near the gymnasium doors. Over time, they will install more as well as replace bottled water dispensers in staff and faculty office spaces with filtered tap-water dispensers that will provide hot and cold water.