April 16, 2010
Principal Daniel Woolf has committed to reducing and eventually ending the sale of bottled water on the Queen's campus. This commitment puts Queen's at the forefront of Ontario universities for sustainable water practices.
As the university's contracts with concession holders, food service providers and soft drink companies come up for renewal over the next few years, renegotiations will include removing bottled water as an option for sale.
"Queen's is committed to playing a leading role-in our own community, nationally and internationally-to help sustain the Earth's natural resources," says Principal Woolf. "Stopping the sale of bottled water on campus is one of the many actions we can and will take to create a greener community for our students, faculty and staff."
A plan will be established in early fall 2010 for limiting and eventually ending the sale of bottled water within five years, subject to contractual obligations with the university's beverage providers.
Enhancements to existing access for municipal drinking water on campus are being considered as part of the plan. The need for ongoing education to foster sustainable and holistic attitudes about water conservation on campus has also been identified.
"Principal Woolf's commitment to sustainability initiatives on campus has truly been amazing and sets up a fertile ground for future collaborations and projects that are bound to move Queen's University even higher on the sustainability ladder," says Ivana Zelenka, Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) Sustainability Commissioner.
She supports the need for ongoing education to facilitate the transition away from bottled water and stresses the need for more access to water fountains on campus. Student groups advocating to stop the sale of bottled water cite implications for waste reduction, financial and environmental costs of transporting bottled water, and the costs associated with manufacturing plastic bottles.
"Canada has among the cleanest and best access to municipal tap water in the world, and we should be promoting this access on campus," says Leora Jackson outgoing University Rector and member of the Water Access Group on campus who actively campaign for more access to municipal water. "Banning bottled water sales is an important part of that, and it is also an important step in recognizing that the sale of bottled water has negative impacts on financial, social and environmental sustainability."
Queen's was the first Ontario-university to sign the University and College Presidents' Climate Statement of Action for Canada initiated by university presidents in British Columbia. Queen's was also a signatory of the Ontario COU pledge, Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World.
Principal Woolf will join university students, organizations and administrators at Clinton Global Institute University's third annual meeting in Miami, Florida this week. Hosted by President Bill Clinton, delegates at the meeting will plan for implementing commitments that address global issues with practical, innovative solutions.