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ESAC Fights Bottled Water and Fridges

As Deerfield’s bottled water culture begins to fade, the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (ESAC) continues to tackle other environmental issues on campus.

This year, various environmental initiatives, ranging from the annual Green Cup challenge to the removal of refrigerators from student rooms, have met with success and changed habits throughout the student body.

This has been largely due to the potent combination of the Environmental Proctors and the Environmental Club, which work with students and their halls to foster a more environmentally-conscious student body.

Much of the work, however, can also be credited to the efforts of ESAC, a joint-group of students, faculty, and staff set up by the Strategic Planning Committee. In its first year of operation, ESAC met once a week to set its agenda.

In the fall, ESAC decided to focus its effort on combating the use of bottled water on campus. Environmental and Sustainability Coordinator and the head of ESAC, Kristan Bakker, explained that water bottles were both “environmentally and economically impractical.”

Peer schools have already banned the sale of bottled water, just as other, like-minded environmental groups have sought to eradicate them on campuses across New England.

To reduce the necessity of bottled water, ESAC plans to place water spigots in the bathrooms of each dormitory hall. So far, Barton, Rosenwald-Shumway, McAlister, and Field dormitories have the facility installed.

“Hydration stations,” or water fountains for filling reusable water bottles, are also planned for nearly all academic buildings. One has already been installed in the library.

Director of Food Services Florrie Paige, who works on behalf of the dining hall with ESAC, reported that there was a “very good feedback from students.”

In addition to these two initiatives, unlike in the past, the Dining Hall no longer served bottled water on last Parents’ Weekend.

This move, according to the dining hall, saved 2,800 plastic bottles. Surprisingly, Ms. Paige noted, “There were no comments, from parents or students.” Clearly bottled water is not missed.

Most notably ESAC has worked with the deans to remove fridges from student rooms. Mrs. Bakker asserted that fridges are “always on, use energy when they are empty, and are more energy inefficient when smaller.”

The decision to eliminate refrigerators followed the lead of peer schools, including Hotchkiss, Exeter, NMH, Andover and Choate, all of which already have bans in place on refrigerators. Of those, Andover, Hotchkiss, and Choate also have a ban on the sale of bottled water on their campuses.

Despite some student resistance, the removal of fridges is no doubt another success for the environmentally conscious as the school year winds down.