In just three days, an online petition has gotten more than 60 Ramapo students to make the commitment to stop buying bottled water and embrace the campus hydration stations.
Brenda Griepenburg, a junior at Ramapo and vice president of 1Step, created an online petition asking the students of Ramapo to pledge to stop buying single-use plastic water bottles and to begin drinking tap water.
“By signing the petition, students are pledging to support clean water as a basic human right,” said Griepenburg. “It is a pledge to drink tap water and not buy bottled water.”
The petition is posted on Change.org, a website that allows anyone to start a petition to gain support and make a change. Griepenburg’s petition is addressed specifically to Ramapo College.
“We want to show the administration that students care about the environment and the issue of bottled water,” said Griepenburg.
The petition outlines the negative effects of unnecessary plastic waste and points out the high cost of bottled water, arguing that at $1.80 for a 20-ounce bottle of water, a gallon of bottled water is more costly than a gallon of gasoline.
“We should think about our waste,” said Griepenburg. “Most bottled water is water that they take from other communities, filter, ship to New Jersey and sell back to us at 2,000 times the price. This is a ridiculous habit that many students have and they do not realize that it is just water–something that you can get from any faucet for free!”
The petition provides Ramapo students an alternative to buying bottled water, suggesting that students invest in a stainless steel or BPA free plastic reusable bottle and take advantage of the three filling stations on campus.
“It is smarter and cheaper to invest in a reusable water bottle and fill that with filtered water from the filling stations on campus. Also, there are many water bottles with a built in filter, so you can get water from any tap,” said Griepenburg. “Reusable water bottles are cheap, and they will save you a lot of plastic and money in the long run.”
However, the petition goes a step further, asking the College to invest in a high quality reusable water bottle for every student on campus and requesting filtered water at every fountain on campus.
“With the petition, I want each water fountain on the college campus to have a filtered filling station installed. This way, students will have access to clean water at every location on campus,” said Griepenburg. “Also, I want to make a permanent change to orientation, so that every student will receive a reusable bottle at orientation, along with the string backpack.”
Griepenburg and a group of students have been educating the campus on the consequences of buying single-use plastic water bottles in a campaign called Take Back the Tap. However, the awareness of the issue increased among students with the creation of the online petition.
“All semester, I have been collecting petitions on paper through tabling and going in to speak to classes and clubs, but ever since I released the online petition, the signatures have been coming in so fast,” said Griepenburg.
The petition currently has 64 signatures, with a goal of 500. Students seem to be responding positively to the petition, some even commenting on it online with positive remarks.
“Water bottles are a waste of resources and money. Since Ramapo promotes sustainability, this is a step in the right direction,” Brianne Bishop commented on the petition.
Next Tuesday, 1Step will be hosting a film screening of the movie “Tapped,” a documentary about the bottled water industry and America’s addiction to bottled water. Anyone is welcomed to attend.
Anyone who would like to become involved in the “Take Back the Tap” campaign can email Brenda Griepenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students interested in taking the pledge can sign the petition at http://chn.ge/18YLNt0.