Senate approves more water bottles

Part of org’s budget will go to restocking reusable bottles

Story by Alex Zank, OP/Ed Editor

The UW-Eau Claire Student Office of Sustainability got the go-ahead from Student Senate to spend $11,000 of its funds to restock its depleted supply of reusable water bottles.

The bottles will be passed out at SOS events to serve multiple objectives, student officials from the segregated fee-funded office said.

The bottles cost about $10,300 overall, but the office asked for a bit extra as a buffer in case there were some unexpected costs, the officials said.

“[The bottles] address the issue of waste management,” Director of SOS Emy Marier said.

She said providing students an alternative to disposable bottles reduces the effect of waste created by the university.

“It also ties in to the funding of water fill stations,” she said.

A couple years ago, SOS began paying for these fill stations to be installed around campus, which provide an easier way for students and faculty to refill water bottles.

Freshman geography major Thomas Wavrin said he uses reusable water bottles. He said even more than the environmental benefits, he doesn’t buy bottled water because the expense doesn’t make sense.

“I find it silly to buy water when it’s already available,” he said.

Each bottle costs $9.50. With added expenses such as shipping, the total cost comes to $11,000, or about $11 a bottle.

Mariah Dorner, management intern with the sustainability office said the expense is well worth it since the bottles are in line with the sustainability goals of SOS. They are made in the United States, which cuts down shipping’s carbon footprint, and the bottles are made of recyclable aluminum.

Wavrin said purchasing these bottles is a good investment of student money. He said he would use a bottle if given one.

The bottles will be distributed at SOS-sanctioned events. Dorner said in the past students would end up with more than one bottle. She said although it’s difficult to monitor whether someone has already taken a bottle, they practice strategies to cut down on how often this happens.

“We do require students do something specifically for the bottles now,” she said. “We have them sign up for our newsletter and ‘like’ us on Facebook.”

Sometimes the office hands out bottles as an award to the first few people who show up to events, she added.

SOS expenditures like the water bottle purchase all need to be approved by Student Senate, which is why a vote was required at the general meeting Monday.