As part of our promotion initiative, Get On Tap has been in contact district elementary schools, creating curriculum and presentations to include environmental awareness in all levels of education.
Today, we met with Martha's 5th grade class at the Merriam school, to work on a skit sharing the benefits of tap water. The students were phenomenal! They had looked at our website prior to our arrival and created a script outlining our message. It features Anna and I as guest stars on their sustainability news show, the RRR (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle News). A highlight of the show boasts the research of two Merriam students, who found that drinking tap water could save their peers $90! The rehearsal was great fun, and it was so inspiring to see the students excitement about sustainable habits! On Friday, we will return to Merriam to perform the skit for the whole school! We'll be sure to post a video of the performance. Afterwards, we will run a blindfolded taste-test activity for our fellow performers in Martha's class in which students will try to decide whether they are tasting tap or bottled water. We guess most will not be able to accurately differentiate between the two, busting the myth that bottled water tastes better than our local tap water!
Presentations for other elementary schools and hopefully the junior high are in planning... check back for updates on their progress!
On Thursday night, Get On Tap presented to the school committee for the Acton-Boxborough School District, proposing our policy to better utilize our local tap water!
In attendance were the 10 school committee members, including chair Mary Brolin, and Superintendent Dr. Brand. We were also very lucky to have our mentors Kate Crosby and JD Head in the audience to support us.
The meeting began at 7pm, and our presentation started quite shortly after, as we were first on the agenda. We gave a 7 minute presentation recapping the information in our policy proposal packet, then opened up the floor to questions.
School committee members expressed great support for our advocacy, if not our movement. To see their exact reactions and questions, check out the recording of the meeting at actontv.org/on-demand/government. Also, be sure to take a look at the slideshow we used as a visual during our presentation (attached below) and our the policy proposal packet released prior to the meeting (see previous post).
At the conclusion of the presentation, the committee voted unanimously to accept Get On Tap's donation of a water bottle filler to the RJ Grey junior high. It will be installed over the summer and ready for use during the 2017-2018 school year!
Finally, Ms. Brolin, the committee chair, requested the policy sub-committee consider and revise our proposal for the needs of the school committee, asking members to have their version prepared for their April meeting. The committee will be updated on the entails on this updated proposal and have the ability to raise any final questions. Then, on May 18, the committee will formally vote on the bill.
A gracious thank you to the school committee for their time and consideration. We look forward to further work with our districts outstanding administration in the creation of cleaner and greener school policy.
With our presentation for the school committee quickly approaching, Get On Tap is working hard in preparation.
Earlier this week we had a check-in meeting with Kate Crosby, who helped us make final revisions to our policy proposal document. She also shared her thoughts on effectively using slides to enhance presentation. Using Kate's advice, we created a six-slide visual to accompany our speaking.
Both our policy proposal document and slides will be posted in the school committee packet tomorrow afternoon. School committee members will then be able to read our materials before the meeting and come prepared with questions. Due to the committee's open meeting policy, this packet will also be available to the public. With such a platform, Get On Tap we will encourage community members to read our proposal document for better understanding of the movement's agenda.
In the coming week, Get On Tap will focus on the spoken components of our presentation, particularly ensuring that we are well-versed in the facts and statistics backing the safety of local water and the detriments of bottled sources. We also will formally rehearse our presentation to maximize professionalism.
Included below is the policy proposal document to be shared with the school committee. The suggested procedures will also be available under the "Prevention" section of our "Mission" page.
The past couple of months have brought a lot of exciting news for Get On Tap, and we are excited to share our progress!
We have solidified the dates (April 10th-13th) for a district "Get On Tap Week" in which we will host various activities to promote local water and educate the community on its benefits. The week will include presentations from guest speakers Jill Appel, the leaders of Concord's Bottle Ban campaign, and Matt Mostoller, the Environmental Manager of Acton Water District. We have also received permission to host a screening of the documentary Tapped, which reveals the detriments on the bottled water industry. Furthermore, the week will gives students the opportunity to sign pledges, participate in bottled vs. tap taste-testings, and obtain great promotional materials such as stickers and brochures. We have also received a small sponsorship from Klean Kanteen, who will be providing us with reusable water bottles to use a raffle prizes!
On top of progress with the promotional week, we have finalized a grant for $1000 from the U-Project program at Danny's Place. We are ecstatic about this accomplishment, as the money will completely fund a new Hydration Station water bottle filler for the junior high cafeteria. Thank you, U-Project!
Looking ahead, we have big things in store in terms of our dialogue with the school committee. On March 16th, we will present the committee with our policy proposal to shift district reliance on bottled water. Anna and I have provided members with our proposal ahead of time so that the meeting can focus more directly on answering the committees questions. In the coming weeks we will be more specifically preparing for the presentation through a bit of rehearsal and meeting with Ms. Kate Crosby, who has provided us with continuous advice throughout the development of our project.
We look forward to sharing more as our progress continues...
Until then, stay on tap everyone!
by Chantal Raguin
In the last month of 2016, Anna and I took time to reflect on Get On Tap’s progress. What have we accomplished? Where will we turn our focus next?
Major events of the past months included: research on bottled water purchases at the high school, communications with Director of Food Services Kirsten Nelson, and a meeting with Superintendent Dr. Brand. Each of these brought us another step closer to answering our essential question: How can we create lasting, effective change in the way our district consumes water?
The research in bottled water purchases proved that promotion of green habits must be strategically planned in order to be effective. We found that out of 120 randomly surveyed ABRHS students, 114 owned a reusable water bottle, meaning about 95% of the school has access to reusable water bottles. Therefore, students are not relying on bottled water because they do not own an alternative, but for other reasons. To change this habit, providing students with reusable water bottles likely won’t be an effective strategy as most already own them. We must instead focus on actually getting students to use the bottles they already have.
Our research also provided data on water bottle purchasing demographics, giving us a target audience to cater to in promoting tap water. Graphs displaying this information are shown below.
Communication with Director of Food Services Kirsten Nelson also gave us data crucial to answering our essential question. Ms. Nelson shared information on district profit from bottled water sales, which totals to be about $28,000. This was a clear indicator that the Food Service department would likely resist movement to ban bottled water sales, as they rely on them to stay within budget. A bit discouraged by this finding, Anna and I began to brainstorm ways to improve sustainability without enforcing a bylaw.
Yet a few weeks later, we met with Superintendent Dr. Brand who was extremely on board with our goals and praised the idea of a bylaw. He was not terribly concerned with the Food Service budget, as he anticipated ways the missing sum could be made up. These ideas were still in development, but the bottom of line of the meeting marked Dr. Brand as a strong supporter of Get On Tap. Also at the meeting were Director of Facilites JD Head and District Energy Manager Kate Crosby, both whom contributed fantastic ideas and strongly advocated for our efforts.
At the time of this reflection, Anna and I had recently set up an interview with Jill Appel, leader of our neighboring town, Concords, movement against bottled water. With this meeting we anticipated great advice on legal environmental action, as we realized so far we have not focused on the actual writing and passing of the bylaw. An update on the meeting will be soon, as it was completed last week. Stay tuned for a release of our plans for the next few months…