Hayden goes green with new water cartons

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Hon-Lum Cheung-Cheng

Boxed water is sold at Hayden Dining Hall’s Quick Stop Convenience Store.

By Jessica Martinez, Deputy Social Media Editor

In an effort to engage in more sustainable practices, the Hayden Dining Hall Quick Stop has started selling water in boxed cartons this semester, shying away from selling the plastic bottles it has sold in past years.

Along with the new packaging of water, Dining Director Ann Marie Powell said Hayden’s dining hall is also offering healthier eating options and no longer sells soda.

“[NYU Dining] has attempted to provide a more sustainable dining program by offering more options that reduce non-sustainable packaging, limit landfill waste and provide healthier options to guests in our dining venues,” Powell said. “We are also about to begin a reusable takeout container program as a means to reduce the amount of landfill waste created by the disposable, though biodegradable, takeout containers.”

The NYU Dining Twitter account has promoted a survey asking students to give feedback about the boxed cartons. Weinstein’s Sidestein Market sells the same kind of boxed water, but is continuing to sell plastic bottles.

Steinhardt junior Cate Wright works in the NYU Office of Sustainability as a program director for ECO Reps, a campus-wide representative program involved with sustainability education. Wright said the office tends to be the go-to place for anything sustainable on campus.

“When Hayden is trying to promote sustainable things they’re doing, like their reusable takeout containers, they reach out to us to see if we could do events,” Wright said. “We’ll end up being involved in any way we can. We have access to the students in a way that a lot of the student groups don’t.”

Stern freshman Danielle Safady said she said she thinks the boxed water cartons are a good idea, but is leery of buying them regularly.

“I like it, but I feel like the water tastes weird after a while,” Safady said.

CAS junior Ayaka Habu, the campaign manager for Take Back the Tap, a national campaign by Food & Water Watch, said the group’s short term goal is getting free water bottles for all freshmen next fall. Take Back the Tap is organized to reduce the use of plastic water bottles on college campuses. Students, too, can contribute to helping the university’s green efforts, Habu said.

“Don’t buy plastic bottles,” Habu said. “Trust that the tap water is safe. When we did a taste test last year, students couldn’t tell the difference between tap water and spring water.”

Wright said the Office of Sustainability works with energy conservation and building efficiency. She said students can also help by turning off lights and reusing bags and bottles.

“Because we’re in New York, it’s so easy to get a coffee cup and then dispose of it,” Wright said. “Things add up and you don’t see it. Students taking the basics that they’ve always known are sustainable behaviors and just actually implementing them on campus is the way to go.”

Email Jessica Martinez at [email protected]