College Republicans protest water bottle ban at St. Ben’s

A ban on the sale of bottled water at the College of St. Benedict — for environmental reasons, because of the plastic waste — is being protested today by College Republicans.

The group says they’ll hand out free bottles of water to passersby at nearby St. John’s University to make their point that free-market conditions should rule in such matters.

“We are not planning this protest to prevent sustainability efforts,” Ryan Lyk, Minnesota College Republicans’ chairman, said in a statement.

“We are defending the free-market system. Our message to the administration is that college is a time for learning. If the students do not want to buy plastic water bottles, they are free not to do so. However, just as government should not ban plastic bottles in America, a school administration should not ban the sale of plastic water bottles on their campus.”

St. Ben’s added 31 hydration stations around campus so students can fill their own reusable water bottles. They can also bring their own plastic water bottles on campus; the school just isn’t allowing sales in vending machines or in the bookstore.

Kate Paul, a St. Ben’s student and Minnesota College Republicans’ vice-chair north, doesn’t like the new setup:

“The hydration stations not only cost us money to use, they are costing us our ability to choose and convenience that derives from choice. If we don’t have a refillable water bottle on campus, then we must go without one all together.”

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/13/2011 - 10:07 am.

    How sad to see minds so young already so rigid, and so thoroughly indoctrinated by “free market” propaganda.

  2. Submitted by chuck holtman on 09/13/2011 - 10:10 am.

    Well, we can see what pablum these innocent little children have been fed for breakfast. Hopefully now that they are at college they will learn that understanding “market theory” includes understanding market failure and the orthodox bases for public intervention. Cute little things …

  3. Submitted by Justin Crum on 09/13/2011 - 10:24 am.

    Wait, I’m sorry, I assumed that these students chose this school because it is PRIVATE, allowing it do what it wants without any of that pesky Government funding. Want to practice your free market choice? Pick a new school.

  4. Submitted by Terry Hayes on 09/13/2011 - 10:37 am.

    Good for St. Ben’s!
    (Advice to Kate Paul: there are millions of discarded plastic bottles on roadsides everywhere. Most are in excellent condition and just need a run through the dishwasher. No one needs to perish of dehydration for lack of a refillable water bottle.)

  5. Submitted by Mike Skoglund on 09/13/2011 - 10:37 am.

    From what I can tell, the “ban” only impacts stores and vending machines owned by St. Ben’s. So the young republicans will protest a policy at the St. Ben’s campus by passing out free bottled water at St. John’s — a campus that still sells bottled water?

    With all this emphasis on “choice,” I’m also curious what products should be made available in the college’s markets. Presumably the “free market” should decide whether campus bookstores sell booze, contraception, and the morning after pill?

  6. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/13/2011 - 10:51 am.

    Last I looked, St. Ben’s was a private institution, itself participating in the free market. If students don’t care for its decisions, they are free to go elsewhere for their education. Or, they can simply buy their bottled water elsewhere and bring it to campus, just as they no doubt do with their beer.

  7. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/13/2011 - 01:47 pm.

    My God. *Is* there a bottom to the pit of leftist hatred and intolerance, or does it just bend upon itself like some emotional mobius strip?

  8. Submitted by Joe Musich on 09/13/2011 - 04:52 pm.

    There is an island of various plastic bottles and the like the size of Texas in the Pacific ocean. One of the benefits of free market magic.

  9. Submitted by Charlie Quimby on 09/13/2011 - 06:12 pm.

    Somehow, generations of college students made it through the day without packing in any water. It’s a wonder anyone survived!

  10. Submitted by Chad Strunk on 09/13/2011 - 10:24 pm.

    Let’s say it again with feeling…St. Ben’s and St. John’s are PRIVATE colleges, and they have simply chosen not to sell water in plastic bottles. These youths should be celebrating and defending the colleges right to choose how they wish to run their organization.

    (In my day, we used drinking fountains. A.K.A., Bubblers for those in Wisconsin. We didn’t need a bottle at all.)

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