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Water bottle challenge gains momentum on College’s campus

| Friday, March 29, 2019

Catholic Relief Services and Saint Mary’s’ environmental studies department are promoting the use of reusable water bottles and containers on and off campus by organizing a water bottle challenge.

The challenge was created by two sophomores, Gabriella Garcia and Ana Liu, and English professor Aaron Moe and has been gaining traction among students and faculty.

“[Garcia] and [Liu] are taking my Native American literature course,” Moe said. “In that course, I shared my interest in something like a water bottle challenge. They came and talked to me after class and shared their work with Catholic Relief Service, so we decided to work together to sponsor this water bottle challenge.”

Interested students can fill out a Google Form with their name and the amount of time they wish to participate in the challenge — one, three and six months, or a full year. The form also lists specific ways participants can reduce the use of single-use plastics, like using reusable containers instead of disposable plastic bags.

“The water bottle challenge specifically challenges those participating to not drink from single-use plastic,” Garcia said. “One could take their own liberties on what they consider single-use. The main goal for us is to reduce the use of single-use plastics as much as possible. I participate by only drinking out of reusable containers, and I will also try to not eat anything that comes packaged in single-use plastic in order to reduce my contribution to the plastic industry.”

Over 142 students, faculty and others have signed up to participate in the challenge so far. The motto of the challenge, “Not even a sip from a single-use container,” promotes the discussion behind its purpose, Moe said.

“When we recycle, we feel like we are being green when really we should be reducing,” he said. “[We learn] ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle,’ [the] last resort being recycle and throw away. The water bottle challenge is geared towards reducing and not even recycling it. By the time we recycle, that should be a last resort. We should try to find alternatives before it even gets to that point.”

Students can pick up a sticker supporting the water bottle challenge Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Center Atrium.

“If a student picks up a sticker, it symbolizes that they recognize that there is a problem,” Garcia said. “Hopefully they see changes that they can make in their life to lessen their plastic footprint.”

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