Junior Collin Morris and sophomore Annika Yates have given “tap that” a whole new meaning.
The two have initiated a new campaign on campus called Tap That, based on the nation-wide movement, Take Back the Tap.
The hope and purpose of their campaign is to empower and educate the Linfield community on the degradation and external costs that come along with bottling water. The main goal is to eliminate bottled water on Linfield’s campus, just as many other schools have begun doing across the nation.
As one of the first public events to promote the campaign, they held a documentary and panel, presenting the documentary “Tapped,” and holding a follow-up panel about the issue on Oct. 2.
Morris first watched “Tapped” last year and was inspired to take initiative on the issue, which, after months of planning, became Tap That.
“The documentary addresses the water issue, then the plastic issue is addressed, and the health concerns surrounding that, then the environmental issue,” Morris said. “So many different issues are put into one commodity, which is why it’s so powerful.”
Yates agreed, saying that “it does a really great job of shocking you without making you feel like a culprit,” which is exactly the response they hoped to stir.
They said that felt the documentary was also important for students to watch because it helps to gain awareness and instill a sense of personal responsibility.
“The goal is to eliminate bottled water.” Morris said. “But when you’re dealing with people, it’s important to frame these kinds of things in positive terms so that people don’t feel like you’re taking away something that they’re so used to. Instead we are empowering them to make smart consumer choices.”
During the panel, Rob Gardner, associate professor of sociology, raised many questions and issues surrounding the bottled water industry, such as questioning the role of corporations in our society and asking who really owns our water.
“It’s really perverse that so much time and money goes into bottling water,” he said. “Especially when it has been proven that 40 percent of bottled water from companies like Nestle, Coke, and Pepsi, is just tap water anyway.”
In the discussion, students brought up ideas, such as putting a campus tax on bottled water, educating the freshman class in Colloquium about the issues with plastic bottles and making it more convenient to refill the reusable bottles.
The ideas and discussions were purposeful and empowering, however Yates and Morris believe that their campaign will not be able to progress unless all students are willing to at least listen and engage themselves in these issues.
“There hasn’t been much outward disagreement [with our promotions] at all,” Yates said. “I think the bigger hurdle is that people don’t care. The people who are apathetic are our biggest setback.”
Yates and Morris plan to fight this problem with persistency—by spreading the word as loudly and powerfully as possible, expanding their message to reach more people.
“This is important to us and our school,” Morris said. “I think [reaching our goal is] totally possible and the reason I keep saying that is because so many other schools have done it, and Linfield is small and powerful, so why can’t we?”
If you’re interested in signing their petition, helping with the campaign or just learning more, contact either Collin Morris at email@example.com or Annika Yates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andra Kovacs/Senior reporter
Andra Kovacs can be reached at email@example.com.