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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Perspective: Everything is bigger in the United States — even water bottles

Compared to a Hydroflask, a Stanley or a Gatorade, my water bottle is minuscule.

Since arriving from the Netherlands, most culture shocks I’ve experienced haven’t surprised me too much. Gilmore Girls prepared me for the fried food, Legally Blonde prepared me for the sororities and Pitch Perfect prepared me for all the clubs. But nothing prepared me for the water bottles.

Water bottles might seem insignificant to most people, but I can’t stop noticing them. The biggest one I’ve seen was in the Shenkman Dining Hall, where one of the workers owns a 7-Eleven Big Gulp that he puts on display almost every Friday morning. It contains 100 ounces (3 liters) of water, whereas my water bottle, the most typical Dutch one you can own called a “Dopper,” contains just 15 ounces. You could fill that Big Gulp with almost seven times the amount of water that fits mine. Carrying that around must be a workout.

I know that not everyone owns that giant of a bottle, but still. Compared to a Hydroflask, a Stanley or a Gatorade, mine is minuscule. I can’t grasp why you would want to walk around with such a large bottle that doesn’t even fit into a bag and is just heavy. The only reason I could think of carrying around such a large amount of water is because the tap water in the United States tastes horrendous. But in the Netherlands, you can continuously fill up your water bottle because our tap water simply tastes good.

To test my theory, I asked several students why they own such large water bottles.

Emily Garcia, a junior, was the first person I asked. She explained that she is always sipping water, so she hopped on the trend. Now, her white Stanley cup with a small purple cloud protecting her straw from spiders is part of her personality. While Garcia prefers Stanleys, she also likes Yetis and Hydroflasks. The only water bottles she doesn’t like are plastic disposable ones since they’re not environmentally friendly.

Mayowa Taiwo, a graduate student, often uses a disposable plastic bottle. Not because she doesn’t have a regular bottle but because sometimes she’s too lazy to clean it. And she isn’t the only one. Most students fall silent or start laughing in a very uncomfortable way when confronted with the question of when they last cleaned their water bottle.

But I couldn’t even ask senior Taylin Yankovich when she last cleaned her water bottle because I was too distracted by her decorations. It’s completely covered in rubber bracelets that she got when working at a summer camp. For every activity she completed, she got another bracelet. Yankovich then used them to personalize her bottle, and now it’s a conversation starter that makes her want to carry it around. She explained how bottles can reflect people’s personalities: stickers can tell you what year they are graduating, if they like GW or if they are part of a sorority. A dented bottle shows how it’s been through a lot – it’s a mental support bottle.

Sophomore Etai Coriat owns an average-size green sports bottle with yellow accents. He’s impressed by the fact that the Stanley brand is part of pop culture and called it crazy marketing. He and his friend mention that they don’t really care about the big bottle brands, but that larger bottles do motivate them to drink more water. 

Big bottles help others stay hydrated as well. First-year Drew Layton owns a giant 8-ounce jug that he never finishes. However, it does motivate him to drink more water than he would using a smaller bottle. Graduate student Essence Brown also owns a big bottle. That’s mainly because she has to drink more water than most other students, as she’s part of the women’s basketball team. Her big pink Hydroflask helps her stay hydrated while active without constantly refilling her flask. 

Ultimately, I found someone who confirmed my proposed theory. First-year Dimitri Donas was filling his approximately 90-100 ounce water bottle in the dining hall by filling a disposable cup underneath a water fountain with a fruit mixture and then transferring it into his own bottle. Why? Because he and his roommate don’t drink tap water and by filling up their huge bottle twice a day, they always have some water stored and never have to buy it.

After all these conversations, I started to get it. Buying a larger water bottle could definitely save me money, help me with staying hydrated and would be a way to not have to clean my current one (everyone is looking for those excuses). I’m not sure if I want to spend $50 on a 40 ounce Stanley, but I might buy a bigger bottle. You know the slogan, right? Go big or go home.

Nova Spier, a senior majoring in journalism and mass communication and an exchange student from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, is an opinions writer.

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