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GVSU Student organizes campaign to rid campus of bottled water contract

March 29, 2011

GVSU Senior Michael Wolf has started a campaign to end the university’s contract with bottled water giant PepsiCo.

The campaign, called Free Water, “is an appeal to Grand Valley State University to terminate its sales of Aquafina (Pepsi co). Although the sales and contract are very lucrative, the university is clearly undermining its own mission to provide Grand Valley administration, faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders with the required skills and capabilities to become better stewards and responsible global citizens in the workforce, communities, and family life.”

PepsiCo is one of the world’s largest bottled water companies and contributes to significant environmental destruction and the theft of communal water in countries like India. PepsiCo has also admitted that much of the bottled water they sell is actually just tap water.

Despite the corporation’s abysmal track record on environmental issues, PepsiCo wants to present itself as a “green” company. Food and Water Watch has an excellent report on how the bottled water industry is engaging in Bluewashing, which makes they claim that they are promoting water just when in fact the opposite is the case.

The Free Water campaign at GVSU consists of a petition campaign to pressure the university to end its contract with PepsiCo. The petition states:

“With the demanding schedule of college life, bottled water has become a popular item for many Grand Valley students and faculty on the go. But with these convenient beverages, there are numerous long lasting negative impacts on communities and the environment.

In recent years, there has been great work done by many to make our campus more sustainable, but some how in all this progressive change bottled water seems to go unnoticed and unchecked. Although the sales and contract with Pepsi Co. has been very lucrative for the institution, it is clearly undermining its own mission “to provide Grand Valley administration, faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders with the required skills and capabilities to become better stewards and responsible global citizens in the workforce, communities, and family life.”

In a recent letter to the STARS Assessment Committee, President Thomas J. Haas states “the university will hold themselves accountable for achieving their strategic goals that are built around seven values that define Grand Valley.” These include effective teaching, liberal education, scholarship, service, inclusiveness, community, and sustainability.

So as a community of students, educators, and co-workers, we must all recognize the problems with the bottled water industry and take the necessary steps to reach our goal of a sustainable campus.”

You can sign the petition and help GVSU rid itself of one of their corporate contracts.

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2011 4:02 pm

    Thanks Jeff!

    In no way is this project to be exclusive to GVSU. So regardless of its success, I am open to collaborate with others in the area.

    If anyone is interested in collaborating or getting involved in our activities at GVSU they can contact me at freewatergr@gmail.com (or) mike.jo.wolf@gmail.com.

    Website:
    freewatergr.com

  2. Jeff Smith permalink*
    March 29, 2011 4:06 pm

    Mike, we are happy to support your efforts. Always nice to see people making these kinds of things happen.

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