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Student Senate Votes to Limit The Sale of Bottled Water On Campus

| By David Teeples |

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The Student Senate has voted to “support the movement toward” no longer selling bottled water at the Bucky’s Stop and Go in the Union and The Lodge (or C3) in Walnut Hall.

“It’s not a ban,” said Senator Andrea Nadeau, “Student Senate has simply voted to support this measure.”

The bill will now be sent to the administration and President Hanson, where they will configure details with the Sustainability Office. Senator Kendra Kennebeck, who seconded the proposal, said the bill was enacted to combat litter on campus and added, “BSU is a green campus and this is a step to show our commitment to environmental stewardship.”

Others see the bill as an overreach on personal freedom. Senator Dan Rekuski voted against the bill and said, “I don’t think Student Senate should be making this decision for other people.” He believes that people should have the option to purchase bottled water anywhere they want. “I personally don’t buy [bottled water] but if other people want to that’s okay with me,” he said, adding that the litter of bottled water issue does not seem to be a major concern.

Still, BSU is not the first university to put restrictions on the sale of bottled water on campus. Many universities across the country have voted to ban the sale of bottled water including The College of Saint Benedict and Macalester University in Minnesota.

Bemidji State is the first MnSCU school to limit bottled water sales. There is also a push from Student Senate to get more filtered water bottle fill stations around campus to make the transition easier. Additionally, an education campaign is in the works to inform students about the reasoning behind the ban.

The idea was first proposed to the Senate by students from a People and the Environment class. Senators Nadeau and Kennebeck decided to take up the issue. They tabled in the union and did a survey of 100 students. The results showed, “students either did not care or opposed the sale of bottled water,” said Nadeau.

Talking to students, tabling, and surveys may go a long way, but does the student senate do a good job of representing the “voice of the students?”

“I don’t think that the Student Senate does a great job of representing the entire student body,” said Rekuski. He believes that the senate should take a more proactive role in getting information out to the student body by updating the website and sending more campus wide emails. “[The senate] is very open to those who want to be involved, but could reach out more,” he said.

Kennebeck said, “We table and get the word out for bills that actively affect students.” She believes that the “limited bottled water sales on campus” bill accurately represents what the students’ want.

“I am really excited to see where it goes,” said Nadeau, adding that the student senate would love to hear feedback.