By Carys Mills
Ryerson has vowed to ditch bottled water by 2013 and the people in charge are willing to put it in writing.
The pledge will be signed on Mar. 11, coinciding with Bottled Water Free Day, an initiative supported by the Canadian Federation of Students. Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, Ryerson Students’ Union President Jermaine Bagnall and Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson President Mohammad Ali Aumeer, will sign the pledge.
The ban will impact the university’s contract with Coca-Cola, which allows the corporation exclusive rights to sell beverages on campus. In return, Ryerson gets $765,000 a year if enough products are sold, with the bulk of the money going to scholarships, bursaries and athletics.
“Bottled water is their No. 1 selling product on the campus,” said John Corallo, Ryerson’s director of ancillary services.
He said he’s contacted Coke about the future ban, but he has yet to hear back.
The RSU has campaigned for the university to ban water bottle sales and increase water fountains since their semi-annual general meeting last November.
But the RSU’s goal has been delayed.
“It’s a little bit further than we’d initially called for, but I think it makes sense,” said Liana Salvador, RSU vice-president education.
“Our big thing was that we wanted to be the first [in Ontario].”
Three campuses in Canada have already banned the sale of water bottles.
The university needs to make sure there are enough alternatives on campus, said Linda Grayson, vice-president administration and finance.
“There is no way it can be sooner,” said Grayson.
She said Ryerson’s administration immediately agreed to the ban but it will take three years to get the campus ready.
Old water fountains need to be fixed, a water bottle filling station is being piloted and the sale of bottled water will be phased out.
The RSU is working to make the Student Centre bottled water free.
At first, Levy was unsure about banning bottled water on campus.
“By saying bottled water is bad for you, I’m going to take it away and I’m going to give you a water fountain,” said Levy last November.
“That’s sort of treating you like a child.”