Students sipped and slurped samples of bottled and unbottled water two weeks ago, as part of the EcoAction “I’d Tap That” Tap Water Initiative, a test intended to debunk misconceptions about packaged water.
Over two hundred members of the PA community participated in the test in Paresky Commons by selecting their “favorite” from choices of filtered tap, tap and Poland Springs bottled water and selecting their favorite.
The results showed that the filtered tap water was the most popular choice with 42% of the participants’ votes. Bottled water received 23% of the votes, and tap water received 22% of the votes. The remaining 13% did not have a preference.
The “I’d Tap That” initiative is a part of an ongoing campaign to encourage community members reduce single-use plastics like bottled water and raise environmental awareness around campus.
The EcoAction club posted a list of negative facts about bottled water at their testing station. According to their charts, a gallon of bottled costs more than a gallon of gas.
The experiment studied whether people chose bottled water because of its taste or its convenience.
Viviane Garth ‘15, EcoAction member, proposed the initiative. She conducted a similar test at her middle school to prove that tap water tasted like bottled water.
Justin Wang ‘13, EcoAction Board member, encouraged the idea because he had heard of tests similar to Garth’s proposal that had been successful in proving that bottled and tap water tasted the same.
Before launching the test in Paresky Commons, EcoAction members felt that bottled water tasted better than tap water and that the test would not be successful. However, Amanda MacDonald ‘12, EcoAction Board member, said that the two types of water are indistinguishable.
Some students reject tap water around campus because the buildings are old, according to MacDonald. However, all faucets on campus meet clean water standards, and the survey showed that tap water was favorable to drink.
MacDonald said that the only way for the initiative to have an impact is if people are aware of the results, which prompted her to write a Commentary article last week.
“A lot of people at Andover have billion things to think about each day, and where you get your water isn’t probably one of them,” MacDonald said.
The EcoAction Board is also working to get a Brita- filtered pitcher for each dormitory. The filtered pitchers would cut bottled water waste in the whole dorm because students could share and refill them as necessary.
MacDonald said that the EcoAction Board plans to coordinate an event with Environmental Science: Water Resources to make a greater impact on the Phillips Academy community.
The EcoAction Board plans to endorse the Green Cup Challenge during the winter trimester.
The EcoAction Board has not held school- wide events events previously, but held discussion- centered meetings about environmental issues, according to MacDonald.
“This year, we are trying to be a bigger force on campus,” said MacDonald.