BEMIDJI - The student government at Bemidji State University this week unanimously passed a bill to ban the sale of plastic water bottles.

The BSU Student Senate voted to become the first college in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to ban the sale of bottled water on campus. Two non-MnSCU campuses in Minnesota -- Macalester and the College of Saint Benedict -- already have done so.

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Student senators Alex Miller and Seth Hofland, both seniors, put forward the bill with the aim of fostering environmental sustainability and access to free water rather than commercial water.

BSU already offers cost-free non-disposable water bottles via its "Free Store," and has water fountains designed for filling bottles throughout campus.

Former student Sen. Dan Rekuski voiced his opposition to the bill, saying it would infringe on personal liberty by imposing the senators' environmental beliefs on others.

Miller said the bill bans only the sale of bottle water on campus, not possession of bottled water.

The BSU administration must also approve the Senate bill.