News

“Tap Water Challenge” Sparks Discussion, Change

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 16:06:00 CST  — by: Zack Loehle

“Do you want to take the tap water challenge?”

During the past two weeks, this question has greeted people passing by lawns outside Spencer Hall and Gailor Hall.

Members of the Sewanee Water Campaign, Sewanee’s student group dedicated to eliminating disposable packaged water on campus, have been inviting students, faculty and staff to take a blind taste test comparing tap and bottled water. Over the course of the last two Fridays, they have gained over 150 petition signatures in favor of a “bottled water free” campus.

Those who take the challenge are given two cups - one with bottled water, the other with tap - and are asked by club members if they can tell the difference by taste. Thus far the results have been about 50/50 odds that students can tell which is which. The Sewanee Water Campaign hopes to continue this effort to raise awareness about the presence of bottled water on campus.

The goal of the tap water challenge is to raise awareness about the minimal difference between tap and bottled water, and to educate members of the student body about the harmful impacts of bottled water on the environment. Bottled water uses over 50 million barrels of oil per year in the processes of extraction, packaging and shipment, and only 13% of the plastic bottles are recycled. The Sewanee Water Campaign seeks to raise awareness around these issues, as well as more general issues with water resources in this time of drought, in order to bring about a more informed community.