Campaign in swing with new filling station installed
By Dylan Hackett, News Editor
Last week, the Douglas Students’ Union’s (DSU) ‘Beat the Bottle’ campaign marched forward with the installation of a new bottle-filling station. Located on the top level/main floor of the DSU building, adjacent to the fourth floor at the New Westminster campus, the station is a step forward for a bottled water-free campus and provides an easy-to-use alternative to purchasing the water sold on campus.
“We are very excited to have our first filling station installed on the main floor—the second will be installed very soon!” said Jill Griffin, External Relations Coordinator for the DSU.
The Beat the Bottle campaign is a localized component of the Canadian Federation of Students’ Back the Tap movement—an initiative against the privatization and commoditisation of drinking water in public buildings and facilities. The movement is largely led by post-secondary institutions, student and labour unions, municipalities, and school boards.
“The sale of bottled water is being banned on more and more campuses across Canada,” said Griffin. “To give you some local examples, Vancouver Island University was the first school in BC to ban the sale of bottled water, followed by Vancouver Community College. We are working closely with the college and are hopeful that together we can move towards banning the sale of bottled water on campus.
“Students were very clear last year that this is what they want and we have made it a priority,” explained Griffin. “Along with installing the water filling stations, we are working on a comprehensive policy geared towards sustainability. We are leading by example and showing the college that banning the sale of bottled water is beneficial for everyone: students, the college, and the community at large.”
The Back the Tap movement cites that among their reasons to campaign against bottled water is the principle of water as a commons.
“Water is a commons. This means that it belongs to current and future generations, as well as the Earth and other species. Governments must manage water resources on our behalf as a public trust. They must ensure water is distributed fairly and responsibly,” says the Back the Tap campaign.
Beat the Bottle aims also to include the often-overlooked David Lam campus in the expansion of accessible public water access.
“There is currently one filling station in the CD building at David Lam. When we talk to the college about these issues, David Lam is always included in the conversation,” said Griffin. “It is important that students at both campuses have equal access to all services.”