Students at North Island College are returning to campuses in September to find new water bottle refilling stations have replaced old fountains.
“Students are excited that the college has begun to respond to our efforts to make NIC bottled water free by increasing access to public water on our campuses” said Jacelyn Lobay, chairperson of the North Island Students’ Union (NISU). “As an educational institution that covers most of the North Island, it is vital for NIC to take leadership on sustainability issues.”
NISU has been petitioning the College through the Back the Tap campaign, a campaign of the Canadian Federation of Students that calls for eliminating the sale of bottled water on campuses.
Student representatives have met with the college on a number of occasions advocating for a ban on bottled water sales and installation of new water stations. Health and environmental concerns, and the commodification of public water are driving the campaign.
Staff and students are encouraged to carry reusable bottles and use the new water distribution system that tracks the amount of plastic bottles that have been diverted from landfills.
“Over 1,000 reusable water bottles have been distributed to students by their student association since the campaign began, and over 700 plastic bottles have already been saved from landfills at just one station since it was installed,” said Lobay.
Since 2010, Students’ Unions across Canada have been campaigning on campuses to ban the sale of bottled water. Many municipalities and institutions, including Vancouver Island University, have already made this commitment.
NISU is Local 72 of The Canadian Federation of Students-BC. The CFS and its predecessor organizations have represented post-secondary students in Canada since 1927.
— North Island Students’ Union