Letters to the editor


Ban popular movement on campus

In this past Tuesday’s issue of The DePauw, Catherine Napier wrote about how bottled water was in demand on campus, and as such, should be brought back. She wrote, “a growing number of students have started to voice their unhappiness…” but I find this statement to be largely untrue.

Sure, the lack of bottle water sales may be an inconvenience to some students on campus, but I haven’t heard enough complaints on campus to think that bottled water is in demand.

Even though I’m involved in sustainability efforts on campus now, I had nothing to do with the bottled water sales ban. However, I understand the importance of the ban, and I have my own opinion as to why we should keep it.

First of all, bottle water is barely more than tap water put into a plastic bottle. Some bottling corporations like Coke and Nestle filter the water that should be free and available to everyone, but others merely take it out of the tap and sell it for profit. Water should be a basic human right, not a commodity we pay for. Also, the bottles themselves are made of plastic (in other words, oil) that can never be fully recycled, because they are degraded in quality each time. Not only have plastic manufacturing plants been linked with local environmental and social injustices from their toxic waste and emissions, it just continues our dependence on fossil fuels.

I understand Catherine’s argument about supply and demand, but when it comes to our bottled water ban on campus, more than basic economics needs to be taken into consideration. We committed to this ban for a reason, and unless a strong student voice comes out against the ban, for at least right now, it’s here to stay.

Katie Aldrich ‘12

Monon T-shirts example of inefficiency

DePauw student government’s failure to provide enough Monon T-shirts is just the latest in a series of events that have shown them to be reactionary and a detriment to the student body.

Take, for example, last year’s white paper resolution requesting a shuffling of class time banks to accommodate lab scheduling. DePauw student government failed to come to a complete understanding of the process by which the faculty arrives at scheduling decisions. Said white paper was redirected toward a time bank committee that eradicated the Monday and Wednesday time banks. Courses normally taught on Monday and Wednesday were shifted into the already overcrowded Tuesday and Thursday time banks, thus exacerbating the lab time crunch (as the majority of labs are offered on Tuesday and Thursday already). This shifted a huge majority of higher-level humanities classes into Tuesday and Thursday time banks as well. Double majors in the humanities must now schedule hour and a half courses back-to-back-to-back in order to fulfill their course requirements. While that decision came out of last year’s government, recent events have shown this government to be just as disconnected. Monon is the most popular event at DePauw. Ordering enough shirts is simple.

It is no secret that DePauw student government is an ineffectual body and a rubber stamp. Attend a meeting and see for yourself. Be wary though: meetings either last five minutes and accomplish nothing (student representative meetings) or go on in virtual secret, with senators and the DePauw student government executive board making decisions based on their own whims, ignorant of or unwilling to hear the legitimate concerns of their constituents.

Brian Banta ‘13

Bottled water not worth cost

I refute the argument made in a column in last Tuesday’s issue of The DePauw that it is necessary to serve bottled water because it is in the best interest of the student population.  While I acknowledge there may be marginal incentive to sell bottled water in the short run, I think it is greatly outweighed by the negative long-run externalities that result from overconsumption based on convenience.  At what point are we to question our consumption levels and how they affect the aggregate system? Isn’t it the notion of convenience and propensity to over consume perpetuated a global environmental crisis in the first place?

The generalization of the economic fundamentals and market demand, which served as evidence to promote the re-installation of bottled water, was insufficient.  I do not think that the increased demand would yield positive return or profit in all areas of interest.  The negative consequences, many that compound the global environmental crises greatly outweigh the marginal benefits of bottled water.

 It is shortsighted to believe the sustainable incentive is mutually exclusive from the demand of the student population.  I believe that there are ways to bridge the demands of the market and environmental focused perspectives in order to maximize returns. However, it is impossible to reach these conclusions without a multi-faceted understanding of our habits, convenience techniques and market demands.  

I believe that the underlying problem is based on failure to understand the implications of convenience. In the long run, it will not be convenient to sustain the effects of climate change, which is compounded by anthropocentric action.  DePauw thrives on individuals that challenge to progress in the face of adversity, or in this case, convenience.  With that said, I respectively reject the claims made in the article and continually challenge others to participate in progressive action. 

Megan Landhal, ‘14