Take Back the Tap continues effort to ban bottled water on campus
People often drink bottled water without ever thinking about how it is made and its impact on the environment.
Take Back the Tap, a registered student organization now in its fourth semester, held its first meeting of the year last week joining together about 40 people. The group is working toward educating the campus of CMU about what goes into their bottled water and even about the bottles themselves and how they impact the environment.
Krista Testolin, president of the CMU chapter of Take Back the Tap, said the goals of the group are to educate students about the sustainability of their resources and more specifically, to eliminate the sale of bottled water on campus.
“It’s vital,” the Iron Mountain junior said. “If we get one person to switch to using a reusable water bottle, it’s saving hundreds of disposable bottles and numerous gallons of oil.”
Oil is used, in part, to create the bottles used to store the water, she said.
She said to spread awareness of the issue, the group shows films and creates visual aids to get students to see the issue, not just hear about it.
Last year the group created a large, nearly six-foot water bottle out of discarded water bottles found around campus.
“I saw how destructive people were being,” said Sarah McNeill, a Massachusetts senior and Take Back the Tap treasurer. “We’re over-consuming.”
She said it takes small steps to make a difference.
“The first step toward being sustainable is changing our lifestyle,” she said. “To change the way people view convenience.”
Berrien junior Spencer Kingman said there are many reasons to favor tap water over bottled water.
“We have tap water for a reason,” Kingman said. “We purposefully have tap water where there are people,” he said.
Kingman, who has been attending Take Back the Tap meetings since last year, has been using a reusable water bottle for some time now and only uses bottled water when one is offered to him.
“I’ve been in this mindset for a long time now,” he said.
She said the group works with the Student Government Association, of which Testolin is also president of the SGA’s Sustainability Committee.
McNeill said working with the SGA is important to get their message out to the students.
“They are the governing body of the student population,” she said. “With their approval, we know we have the student body approval.”
The group is actively campaigning, through petitions and demonstrations, to attain their goal of ending the sale of bottled water on campus. Testolin said the group has about 2,000 signatures on their petition for this particular cause and hopes to attain 500 more this semester.
Take Back the Tap fundraising chair and Waterford senior Alysha McClain said the group uses its funds raised through the sale of T-shirts and reusable water bottles to improve the water dispensaries around campus.
“All fundraising money goes toward retro-fit kits,” McClain said. “They’re a better form of water fountain that double filters the water and helps eliminate germs since it’s motion activated so you don’t have to touch anything.”
She said the group is out to educate students and change the mindsets of students.
“I think a lot of it has to do with education,” she said. “When they do something about it, they’re making a difference.”
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