Editorial: Out of Hydration Options

Humboldt State needs more clean water fill stations.
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Humboldt State needs more clean water fill stations

Humboldt State banned single-use plastic water bottles in Fall 2011. In the eight years since, it seems HSU has hardly increased the amount of water fill stations on campus.

Campus banning single-use plastic was the right thing to do. It’s progressive and environmentally friendly, two things Humboldt State prides itself on. But the least administrators could do is give us more than two ‘Hydration Stations’ to fill our own bottles.

Nearly every building is home to a drinking fountain, but these fountains are outdated and many of them produce warm, ill-tasting water.

The Lumberjack has highlighted the issue of on-campus stores selling single-use plastic sodas and sugary drinks in the past, but we’re here to hammer it home again.

Disposable water bottles alone once contributed to a large portion of on-campus waste. Banning single-use plastic water bottles decreased that waste and even reduced HSU’s carbon footprint significantly. But campus makes waste with different products, ones filled with sugar and chemicals.

You may be thinking that we should just bring our own bottle filled with water to school, and most of us do. But there are times where we forget, and others where we run out. When we run out of water, we run out of healthy options. If we refuse to gargle the room temperature wash that comes out of our out-dated fountains, what options are we left with? Pepsi, Gatorade, Fanta and Vitamin Water.

It’s an insult to the student body and prospective students that HSU markets itself as pushing the bounds of sustainability when it continues to sell massive amounts of single-use plastic.

Profit is held far above sustainability and student health. Are we surprised? Not in the least. HSU often prioritizes profits over student health (the windowless rooms in Creekview are a great example).

If the school refuses to take action, then responsibility falls to us students. One of our only options for retaliation and action as a student body involves our purchasing power. Where students spend their money and what we say we will spend it on does create change. Attending Associated Students meetings and voicing concerns is another helpful tactic.

We are grateful for HSU’s aim of a more sustainable campus and future through the reduction of plastic consumption. But HSU needs to give students more drinkable water sources. The university needs to prioritize student health and cut ties with brands that continue to use plastic, even if it hurts the bottom line.

For a school that so desperately needs to increase enrollment and recruitment of students, HSU needs to remember to put effort into the students that are already here. Reputation can be everything, and this issue, just like our water, leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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