If marketing geniuses introduced a new wonder drink that claimed to offer amazing health benefits with zero calories, it would fly off shelves. Now imagine that wonder product being offered for free to consumers everywhere. Sound too good to be true? Just walk over to the nearest faucet and try it for yourself
But tap water is not the default drink of choice for many college students, or faculty and staff for that matter. Despite tap water being free, plentiful and safe, many people on campus prefer soda, juice or coffee, and those that choose water often purchase bottled water that is shipped in from far away.
A group of students on campus wants to change that attitude, on the grounds that tap water is not only the healthiest and most economically sound choice, it’s also the most environmentally friendly. Members of the Student Dietetic Association are launching an awareness campaign called “Fresh from the Faucet,” to encourage the campus to drink tap water, and the group has a number of ways to keep tap water top of mind when people make their drinking choices.
“Drinking tap water is important for many reasons,” said Bre Huffman, vice president of the OSU Student Dietetic Association. “For one, it’s cheaper. A bottle of water on campus costs between $1 and $1.50. Tap water is free. And Corvallis has great water.”
Huffman said tap water is also more environmentally friendly because plastic, disposable water bottles take a lot of energy to produce, and more than 40 million of them are thrown away each year.
Although tap water around campus is safe, some people prefer the taste of filtered water. SDA and the Fresh from the Faucet campaign have created a map that shows all the publically accessible filtered water stations around campus. Most of them are located in buildings that also house restaurants, but there are others in frequently used buildings, including Kerr and Snell.
“I think this is going to be a great tool to give out to help students find places to fill up their water bottles,” Huffman said.
Water also has many known health benefits and is a much better option than soda and other carbonated beverages.
“The body needs water to function normally,” said SDA President Holly Turner. “It’s a major part of bodily fluids (blood and saliva) and helps shape cells. It also cushions joints, regulates body temperature and metabolism, and helps to keep things moving in the intestinal tract.”
The second effort, which is just beginning, is to provide clings and stickers to draw attention to public water fountains in every building on campus. Building managers are currently helping to identify the number and location of water fountains in their buildings, and student volunteers will be marking those fountains as school starts this year.
Additionally, the group is hoping to encourage the use of filtered water at campus events, and to educate both new and current students about the health benefits of tap water, and the environmental consequences of bottled water.
“Drinking water from the faucet regularly rather than drinking sugary beverages or buying bottled water is a great way to take a simple step toward better health for you and the planet,” Turner said.
For more information: http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/bewell/eat-healthy/fresh-from-the-faucet/
~ Theresa Hogue