By Paul Matli
Flapjack Chronicle staff
Plastic water bottles can be more harmful than beneficial, said Joseph Trejo, an 18-year-old Humboldt State University freshman. Water bottles were once banned at his high school, he said, because students would take the caps off and throw them at each other and leave the caps laying around.
At Humboldt State, this problem may not occur. Hydration stations all around campus eliminate the need for plastic water bottles. The stations are an efficient way to get water and get to class without having to wait in those long lines at The Depot or the J just to pay a dollar for a bottled water that will be thrown away by the end of the day.
Hydration stations are better for the environment, a value for which HSU is well-known. At the HSU orientation, all the freshman are given a re-usable water bottle, so they won’t have to worry about getting their own. A peer counselor shows students what the hydration stations are and where they are located.
Many universities have considered taking the bottles away but haven’t followed through with it for various years. But as the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education says that just 13 universities in the U.S and Canada have discontinued the sale of bottled water. HSU is one of the first in California.
Paul Rowland, the executive director of AAHSE, said campuses ban bottled water for several reasons.
“Some campuses have touted the decrease in waste while others have done it as a water quality issue,” he said.
Humboldt State University director of Dining Services Rob Rudebock thinks that getting rid of these bottled waters will be a way to promote healthy choices as far as eating habits.
“ When people come in they’re looking for a bottled water not a cola,” Rudebock said. “We want to provide students with more healthy options.”
Now even though their are no bottled waters on campus and there are hydration stations doesn’t mean that the students won’t resort to buying unhealthy drinks. Rudebock and Rowland said they hope that by seeing these hydration stations the students will make the right decisions and drink water.
A number of students were asked to voice their opinion about the hydration stations, and for the most part the comments were positive. The hydration stations have been beneficial on the HSU campus, some say, because protecting the environment is important. The students also said that these stations are convenient because you can keep the same water bottle with you all day and fill it up when you need to. Students don’t need to worry about having to spend money on a water bottle that they weren’t going to be using again.
“I’ve only used them once,” Trejo said. “But I found them very beneficial. It took me only five seconds to fill up my bottle and leave. I think the stations are better than the bottled waters because they don’t leave as much of a mess. I also like it because you get instant access to water whenever you want.”