Graduating from the bottle to the tap

Corporate Accountability International

It's a graduation season like no other! This year, colleges across the country—including Brown, Hampshire, Loyola, Macalester, Mount Holyoke and Stonehill— are making history by holding bottled-water-free graduation ceremonies.

It's the latest milestone in Corporate Accountability International's work to halt the harmful agenda of global water corporations bent on transforming our most essential human right into a commodity sold for profit.

And it's a direct result of the bold, grassroots organizing led by a national team of student leaders on our Think Outside the Bottle campaign, which protects the tap and challenges the misleading marketing of the bottled-water industry. Building on the momentum of the past few years, today's Regional Student Organizers continue to advance the groundswell of momentum for campuses to buck the bottle.

This year Mount Holyoke College became the first all-women's college to have a bottled-water-free graduation ceremony.

This victory is due in no small part to the Think Outside the Bottle campaign, led on campus by senior Becca Neubardt. Becca first became involved with Corporate Accountability International as an intern last summer. In the fall, she returned to Mount Holyoke determined to halt the corporate commodification of water on her campus.

From tap water challenges (blind taste tests) to educational water-bottle sculptures, student activists used creative and educational tactics to raise awareness among faculty and students.

They also gathered more than a thousand signatures to petition their administration to go bottled water free. (See the short video below to hear Becca’s story and see the Mount Holyoke team in action.)

But that’s not all. Becca recently delivered a hard-hitting statement to Coca Cola's CEO from the floor of Coke’s shareholders’ meeting. She asked him to detail the ways in which Coke has interfered in student-driven bottled-water-free initiatives, leaving him scrambling to cover his tracks.

Today, Mount Holyoke is closer than ever to ending bottled water sales and joining the 70 colleges and universities that have already bucked the bottle. It has installed 24 hydration stations across campus, giving students and faculty easy access to free tap water.

And it’s now a part of the group of campuses celebrating their graduates with a bottled-water-free graduation. As Mount Holyoke grads received their diplomas, their loved ones toasted them with fresh, thirst-quenching tap water!


 

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