Alex Paulin, Director of Weekend & International MBA Programs, noticed garbage cans filled to the brim with plastic water bottles after weekend classes. The Executive and Weekend Accelerated MBA programs are all inclusive, meaning students receive meals and snacks during class, in addition to coffee and beverages (including bottled water). Many program participants were taking two more water bottles at a time—drinking one with their meal and then saving the others to stay hydrated in class. Not only did Paulin see the waste build up, but purchasing bottled water was becoming more and more expensive.
Through collaboration with Dining Services by Bon Appétit, Paulin came up with a cost effective and environmentally friendly solution. He ordered reusable, red stainless steel water bottles, emblazoned with the SCU logo. When students begin the Executive or Weekend Accelerated MBA programs, they receive a backpack and other SCU gear. The water bottle was simply included with these items, so all new students received one. They were told that plastic water bottles would no longer be provided and instead encouraged to bring the stainless steel bottle with them to refill at refreshment stations. Paper cups are provided in case someone happens to forget their bottle, but Paulin says that rarely happens.
The response to the change in water bottle policy has been very positive. There have not been any complaints and most students really appreciate these efforts to be more sustainable. Bon Appétit delivers water with lemon slices in glass carafes at meal times and students are encouraged to refill as many times as they’d like. Paulin estimates that the MBA program saves about 200 water bottles each weekend. There has also been noticeable cost savings.
If you’ve noticed a similar issue around campus (i.e. wasted water or electicity) contact email@example.com or the Office of Sustainability to develop a solution that will suit your needs.
Written by Jennifer Gore, Sustainability Intern, '09.