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Reusable water bottles a hit at Surrey orientation

September 23, 2010

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Along with clipboards and pen, new students at the Surrey campus received a new item this year in their orientation kits: A stainless steel water bottle complete with a carabiner to easily fasten the container to their backpacks.

The water bottle replaced the traditional t-shirt in the swag bag full of SFU-related items that hundreds of students received during orientation sessions this year.

For Candy Ho, the Surrey campus student life coordinator, it was time for a change and she involved the entire campus community in the process. The end result is a variety of red, blue and silver water bottles bearing faculty logos.

"The great thing about the Surrey campus is we’re very community- minded. We try to create a real sense of community, especially for our new students," says Ho.

"And there’s always some competitiveness between the faculties so once one faculty approved the idea they all wanted to get on board with final designs that are unique and specific to each first-year cohort program."

The bottles eliminate the need to purchase multiple flats of bottled water and individual juice boxes that end up overloading landfills. Instead, students can easily fill up their stylish new containers at any campus water fountain.

Why water bottles? Ho says the idea surfaced last April during planning for fall orientation. "There were too many water bottles around, with plastic everywhere, and we were wondering how we could make the orientation kits more sustainable and meaningful. A reusable water bottle made sense."

Another noticeable change at orientation this year: biodegradable foodware, including cups, plates and napkins, donated by Biodegradable Solutions.

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