U of T Mississauga goes bottled-water-free on Thursday

Water without the plastic bottle will be the beverage of choice on Thursday, March 10, at U of T Mississauga in celebration of water awareness week on campus.

Bottled water is being eliminated from campus vending machines during water awareness week (March 7-11), and will not be available at all March 10 in automated machines and through food service outlets. All three U of T campuses are marking Bottled Water Free Day, a Canadian initiative that encourages consumers to take a stand in support of public water and against the privatization of water.

It is incumbent upon us as a society to reduce our human footprint on this planet, said Professor Deep Saini, vice-president of U of T and principal of U of T Mississauga. If we can reduce our dependence on bottled water, we can help the environment and live healthier lives. As a former environment dean, I wholeheartedly support this initiative.

As part of Thursday's bottle-free day, campus representatives will be handing out short surveys to gather information about drinking water consumption, and to inform next steps in the possible long-term elimination of bottled water on campus. The first 1,000 people to fill out the five-question survey will receive a U of T Mississauga reusable water bottle. Saini along with staff, students, union representatives and Chartwells Dining Services will be on hand to promote the bottle-free event from 11 a.m - to 1 p.m. in the Meeting Place of the William G. Davis Building.

We are thrilled to participate in this important event to engage the community with respect to their views on the provision of water at UTM, said Bill McFadden, director of hospitality and retail services at U of T Mississauga. We hope the free water bottles serve to motivate people to share their perspective. The information gained through this survey is critical to the development of plans for UTM and the entire U of T family.

Ten universities across Canada have gone entirely bottled-water-free by phasing out the sale and distribution of bottled water and by adding more water fountains. Bottled Water Free Day is sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Students, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Sierra Youth Coalition, Development and Peace, and the Polaris Institute.