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OU-COM student government abandons bottled water

To save money and protect the environment, the OU-COM student government has presented the 120 members of the class of 2012 with their own personal, reusable water bottles emblazoned with the college logo this fall.

Calling the project “Tapped Out,” OU-COM Student Government President Chad Keller and Vice-President Scott Yoho, both second-year medical students, came up with this cost-effective, eco-friendly welcome gift for new medical students, who arrived on campus last week for orientation.

The OU-COM student government, in coordination with the Office of Student Affairs, typically presents lunch lectures—with food and bottled water provided—about twice a week. Often, these lectures attract as many as 150 students. 

Those recyclable water bottles often end up in the trash, and ultimately the landfill operated by the Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District, according to Keller. By not serving bottled water, he estimates that the college will avoid adding 12,000 water bottles to the landfill—in addition to saving the student government $2,500 during the upcoming school year.

“We wanted to come up with something to do that would help the school out,” Keller said. “(These bottles are) what all students on campus are carrying; it’s kind of the ‘in’ thing. We realized this would save money and help our campus be a littler greener.”

Using tap water to fill their personal water bottles may even be a little healthier, Keller added. “Tap water may be of higher quality than bottled water. It is safer and more highly regulated.” 

The 16-oz. Nalgene bottles distributed to the medical students do not contain the chemical BPA, a possible carcinogenic often found in plastic bottled water containers.

In their presentation, Keller and Yoho reported that the number of plastic bottled water containers sold in the U.S. increased from 3.3 billion in 1997 to 15 billion in 2002. Still, only about 19 percent of bottles were recycled in 2003.


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Last updated: 01/28/2016