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Take Back the Tap gets crafty in the Tap-A-Palooza Kick-Off


South Lyon senior Allison Laplatt speaks at the Tap-A-Palooza event on Oct. 3 at Room 151 in Anspach Hall.

Members of Take Back the Tap (TBTT) and Student Environmental Alliance gathered in Anspach Hall Tuesday night to get crafty and kick-off the month-long awareness event, Tap-A-Palooza.

The meeting began with presentations about water sustainability by TBTT president Allison LaPlatt and vice president Sara McAuliffe, who explained the importance of maintaining public water sources by highlighting examples such as the deteriorating water infrastructure in Flint. 

After the presentations, the group split off into different crafts and activities. Some members left to hang signs around campus promoting Tap-A-Palooza. Others stayed to paint signs to display at their upcoming tabling events. 

A few of the members began to construct a “water-bottle man,” by hot-gluing plastic water bottles to a green padded jacket. It will be worn during their tabling events to make a statement, and prompt discussion.

LaPlatt then presented photo backdrops she had digitally made, prompting the members and attendees to take photos in front of them for their social media page.  Some of the images depicted water bottles in the shape of a fist and a heart.

While the photos taken will be used to promote Tap-A-Palooza, one of them may be a candidate for a photo contest that CMU's TBTT campaign will be competing in. 

Across the nation, other TBTT campaigns from various universities will be competing in a photo contest for a prize of $250, awarded by the non-profit, Food and Water Watch. A photo from two universities competing will be chosen to win. 

This contest will run alongside the text-in competition, where the two schools with the most text-ins or “pledges” will win $1500 to put towards their public water infrastructure. 

Any CMU student can text-in by sending “I heart tap” to 69866 and following it up with their CMU email. 

Lansing senior Zarah Ahmad becomes the water bottle man at the Tap-A-Palooza event on Oct. 3 at Room 151 in Anspach Hall.

LaPlatt said winning would bring publicity and attention to TBTT, especially from CMU’s administration. Winning would assist in making CMU a “morally responsible university,” and national recognition could be used as a bargaining tool with administration for future projects. 

“CMU needs to know we’re here,” Laplatt said. 

Proceeding the kick-off will be various events students can attend during the month, including a tabling event on Wednesday, Oct. 11 and a viewing of the documentary FLOW: For Love of Water on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

A Day Without Bottled Water will take place Wednesday Oct. 25, in which students won’t be able to find plastic water bottles on the shelves of campus restaurants and markets. Hanging on the cooler doors, in place of the bottles, will be informational signs explaining the significance of refusing to use bottled water. 

TBTT has been working with Tyson Dubay, head of all the residential stores and restaurants, to make this demonstration possible. LaPlatt says Dubay is one of TBTT’s biggest allies in making CMU more sustainable by getting rid of single-use, plastic water bottles on campus. 

Southgate senior and SEA member, Hailey Zacharski, is excited for the upcoming events this month because it gives her a legitimate reason to talk about environmental issues. 

“We really need to take action in the present because if we don’t start now, when will we,” Zacharski said. “At this moment we’re making crucial decisions that are going to affect the environment for generations to come. So, it’s really important that our generation starts to encourage environmentally conscious practices and pass that onto our family and friends.”

Zacharski will be attending the tabling events and encouraging students to text in to the competition. If CMU’s TBTT campaign won the prize money she ideally sees it going towards bottle refill stations in the Education and Human Service building on campus. 

TBTT and SEA members will also compete amongst themselves for donated reusable water bottles by collecting points for completing various activities. By handing out flyers, getting their professor to announce Tap-A-Palooza in class, or chalking about the event, they can earn various amounts of points. The three students with the most points will win water bottles donated by a former e-board member’s parents. 

General meetings for TBTT and SEA will be held Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in Ansbach Hall, room 151.