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Poland Spring's College Scholarships Are A Tainted Gift To This High School Senior

Graduate Hannah Rousey was always taught that bottled water was bad. So she bravely turned down the offer from Poland Spring.

Poland Spring's College Scholarships Are A Tainted Gift To This High School Senior

Photo: Tom Starkweather/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Chalk one up for good parenting and an ethical education. High-school graduate Hannah Rousey has turned down a college scholarship from Poland Spring, because Poland Spring makes and sells bottled water and she is not a fan.

And really, Poland Spring should have seen this coming when it awarded one of its scholarships to a student planning to study a degree in sustainable agriculture and environmental protection law and policy. The grant, one of five $1,000 Poland Spring Good Science scholarships, was awarded to Rousey when she graduated from her school, the Fryeburg Academy in Maine. And Rousey’s letter refusing the money is a zinger:

I am grateful for the scholarship I have been awarded, but I cannot in good faith accept money from a company that does not exhibit sustainable and ethical practices. For me to accept your scholarship would be hypocritical. I am in hopes that more people of my generation will become aware of the dire need to protect our water and the earth’s other precious resources.

A good chunk of Rousey’s conviction seems to come from the good example set by her parents. "From a young age, I was taught to carry a water bottle with me so I did not need to buy water at a store," she told the local Bridgeton News. "As I got older, I was able to learn more about the fight for our water rights here in Fryeburg."

Flickr user Wilson Hui

We know that bottled water is a plague on the environment. Last year, for example, Walmart kept bottling and selling Californian tap water, right through the state's major drought. In this light, Rousey’s stand may seem obvious, but for a student facing future debt, it’s not always so easy:

I am in need of a lot of financial support to attend school in the fall. I am so appreciative of the scholarship money that I have received. Standing up for one’s beliefs and convictions isn’t something that is done only when convenient. It’s important to lead by action, when push comes to shove doing what is right isn’t always what is easy. Accepting money from Poland Springs would go against everything I am going to school for, therefore, I politely declined their offer.

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