Case Study: Washington University in St. Louis

Blog Post #3 Individual Case Study

A model from Washington University in St. Louis can help Temple University consume less and save more. Water style!

With the recent wave of environmental action, people are looking for small, inexpensive ways to consume less and save more. What most people do not realize is that it is as simple as drinking water from a good plastic bottle, just not bottled water.

Washington University in St. Louis ended the sales of bottled water in early 2009, with only two venues selling bottled water for a few more months due to contractual obligations. The ban encouraged students, guests, and faculty to drink tap water and use reusable water containers because of the hazards of bottled water.

Bottled water uses fine resources, including mass amount of plastics and fresh water. Propaganda from bottled water companies promote that it is healthier than tap water. Yet, bottled water does not have to meet all of the federal, state, and municipal regulations; also, it is more difficult to check water quality.

Students at WUSL are incredibly supportive of the ban of bottled water because it made them take time to think of the impact. Students and faculty supported the decision because it would promote St. Louis’ water supply. In September 2008, students built a ‘tower of consumption’ out of discarded waste bottled water created. The group also started selling reuseable water bottles.

This idea, banning bottled water, should be an incredible issue for Temple University. It can promote conservatism and in the long run it is cheaper for poor college students.

Temple University has the misfortune of being located in urban North Philadelphia and using Philadelphia’s municipal water system. With that system is a lot of negative connotation of the water being dirty and unhealthy.

Unlike WUSL’s water system, North Philadelphia is not one of the best water sources in the country. That said, special water fountains have been placed around campus that filter the water again, furthering environmental action on Temple’s campus.

The case study of WUSL shows Temple University that it is possible to eliminate bottled water purchases and drink tap water. The case study is a perfect example on how colleges can become green, simply through student movement and environmental issues as a first-thought.


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