Take Back the Tap event promotes sustainability

Girl Holding World Water Day Frame with Bottles

On Thursday, March 31, the Union Green hosted the Take Back the Tap event sponsored by the Inter Residence Hall Council and Sustainable Campus as part of the National World Wide Water Day.

Students gathered in the green, playing games like a water-sustainability version of Jenga and spinning a wheel that dealt them a fact about the environmental impact of the mistreatment of bodies of water through pollution and ecosystem decay.

Savannah Rodrigue, a sophomore majoring in Political Science and Environmental Studies, explains that the event works to raise awareness on campus about water sustainability through simply choosing reusable water bottles instead of the customary plastic options.

“The primary goal of the campaign is phasing our water bottles and promoting the use of reusable water bottles,” Rodrigue said.

Rodrigue notes that she personally uses a reusable water bottle that she refills with local tap water. She understands the potential skepticism that people might have about drinking tap water but she urges students to have an open mind.

“Tap water is okay,” Rodrigue said. “We happen to love in an area with good water quality. I understand that there are other cities and countries that don’t have access to drinking water from the tap as we do. We might as well take advantage of it.”

Rodrigue also calls upon students to provoke the push that is needed to create meaningful change in water sustainability.

“As a student, you can save a lot of money by taking back the tap,” Rodrigue said. “Negative externalities are created when water bottles are shipped to over to other countries because it starts to effect their ecosystem. A minor change can have a larger impact on the collective.”

Cassidy Farach, a freshman majoring in Creative Writing, explains that she got involved with Take Back the Tap through Eco-Reps, an organization that promotes environmental sustainability through outreach and leadership.

“One of the main goals is to learn more about sustainability and conservation in order to reduce our environmental impact,” Farach said.

Farach notes that her outlook on environmental matters changed in 3rd grade when she read a newspaper article about the production of water bottles.

“I read about how much gasoline it took to make water bottles as well as to process, filter, cool and ship them,” Farach said. “I just see that as such as extreme waste for pieces of plastic that will be thrown away or gather on the sides of roads.”

Being exposed to information about the environmental impact that these manufacturing practices were causing pushed she to make a big change.

“I have probably used 5 plastic water bottles since 3rd grade,” Farach said.

Farach describes the event on the Union Green as a great way for students to get exposure to the issues through the games and get them to take the pledge to start the practice of using reusable water bottles.

“When I started talking about water pollution, the pacific garbage patch and how industry effects water, people were responding,” Farach said. A lot of people just weren’t aware of the issues before. The games definitely helped attract people.”

Farach notes that making a different in the environment is something that we should all take on.

“What we do to the environment, we do to ourselves.”