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.”