After going through 49 plastic water bottles between two people in half a week, it was evident that something needed to change. Roommates and sophomores Jarod Wenger and Logan Tackett initially started keeping their empty water bottles because they were purely interested in how much they go through in a week.
With the start of this school year being during a pandemic, Doane had to make many adjustments to protect students and faculty from getting sick. One of these adjustments included turning off the water fountains in buildings to prevent students from drinking out of them and possibly contaminating the fountain.
As a result, students can only get drinking water from the bathroom sink or from plastic water bottles.
However, the goal of Wenger and Tackett is to bring light to a problem that goes along with using these plastic water bottles: waste.
It started off as collecting their empty water bottles for fun. Yet, when they realized how much waste they were causing, they started lining the water bottles around their door frame.
Wenger said the original goal was just for students to see the weekly affect of the waste produced between two people.
In the short amount of time that they had their water bottle waste display up, they had received various questions and interest in what they were doing. One student who stopped by to ask about the cause suggested they start a petition to make some change around Doane.
What once started as a project to catch the attention of Doane students eventually evolved into a petition.
The petition that now has over 50 signatures is to get water bottle fillers into Smith Hall with the hopes of gaining enough attention to bring it to other residence halls.
“I think the attainable goal is to draw enough attention to it to the point that it happens. [We will] not only talk to administration but also get as many people on campus to know about it so we have the numbers to back our idea,” Tackett said.
After talking with their residence hall’s CD, they were told that the water bottles around their door were a fire hazard and must be taken down. However, since the lobby is not being used at this current time, they got permission to take the empty water bottles and put them in the lobby of their residence hall.
Wenger said they are “hoping that, internally, each student can see their own effects.”
In addition to showing students the waste one week at a time, Wenger and Tackett have been in communication with various Residential Life staff as well as a plan to submit a proposal to the Green Committee.
While this project has taken off in a different direction than originally intended, Wenger and Tackett are happy to see this issue gaining attention.
On the petition, they bring light not only to the money going into buying these water bottles but also the amount of waste they cause and where the water bottles will end up after use.
“It is important to see how many water bottles we all go through. It’s more about spreading the awareness of how out-of-hand this is for our first world country,” Wenger said.
For more information or to see the petition, students can go to change.org/smithhallwater