Gone is bottled water from vending machines at Vanier College. Single-use disposable plastic water bottles are now a thing of the past on campus. To celebrate this event, the Vanier Sustainability Office, in partnership with the VCSA (Vanier Students Association), VERT (the student environment committee) and the Math and Science Center, are holding the first Water Week at Vanier College, January 23 – 27, 2012.
Information booth and free metal water bottles
Water Week aims to raise awareness about the links between global sustainability and water as well as zero in on the problem of plastics. Throughout the week, an information booth in the Student Mall will conduct a water taste test and provide students with information on issues related to water. The VCSA will also give away 2000 free reusable metal water bottles to students who pledge to stop buying single-use disposable bottles of water.
“Water bottles exist because of a manufactured need,” says Vanier Sustainability Officer, Richard Dugas. “The fact is our municipal water is excellent. But the sale of disposable water bottles promotes the privatization and commercialization of water and undermines our right to clean and accessible water. Disposable plastic water bottles pollute the environment, fill garbage dumps and require large amounts of fossil fuel for their production and transport. CEGEP students are old enough to understand they can protect the environment rather than remain passive thinking they cannot change things. Water Week aims to show them how to take action.”
Games, talks and films
A full line-up of events and activities will entertain, educate and inform students throughout the week.
- On Monday morning, at 10 a.m., everyone is invited to call on their artistic talents to help build a “plastic bottle sculpture”.
- In the afternoon, Engineers without borders will lead an interactive game about global water resources aimed at exposing the inequality of global water distribution and uses.
- On Tuesday morning, Vanier students who participated in the Malawi project, Water: Action for Access, organized by the Vanier College International Education Office last summer, will present some of their findings on safe access to water and sanitation in that country.
- At 2:30 p.m., engineer Laurent Laroche, the head of Technical Expertise with the City of Montreal’s water filtration plant, will make a presentation on how Montreal purifies its water.
- During Universal Break on Wednesday, at noon students will be able to jump in the swimming pool to play innovative games that illustrate global water issues. These interactive water games were especially conceived to demonstrate, in an active and fun way, the dynamic of ocean pollution, the large-scale uses of water and global distribution and accessibility to water.
- Later that day, climatologist René Brunet from the Biosphere will give a talk on water in its global context.
- Thursday is Water Movie Festival day with a screening of the award-winning documentary film “Flow” at noon, and National Film Board short films on water from 4 pm to 6 pm.
- Finally, the week’s activities will end Friday afternoon with a visit to Montreal’s Jean-R. Marcotte water filtration plant at the east end of the island. Every day, this water treatment facility purifies enough water to fill the interior of the Olympic Stadium.