Thoughts on Campus Bottled Water Bans

Ashley Thorne

Scott Carlson, a blog author for the Chronicle of Higher Education, has a dogmatic article on college bottled-water bans. Here's the comment I posted on it:

I wrote about the anti-bottled water movement a couple years ago here. It's amazing to me that universities are taking away students' rights to purchase something (very healthy and wholesome) that they are willing to purchase. Yes, tap water is free, and wherever it is clean enough to drink it's a good idea to take advantage of that and save money. But if people want to pay for water, they shouldn't be banned from doing so. The anti-bottled water movement is part of sustainability's "change daily habits" strategy. Sustainability advocates seek to change our attitudes, values, and behavior, so they enact policies that train people to make small, daily adjustments by increments, until we've made it the basis for our moral compass. The campus "trayless dining" movement is also part of this strategy.

This recent race to ban bottled water strikes me as inimical to freedom. It could also turn out to be one of those bans that make the embargoed item even more alluring. There may soon be black market bottled water sales in dark corners of college campuses. Be on the watch for guilty-looking students hiding Evians in their backpacks until they can sneak sips back in their dorm rooms.

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