Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:58:00 CST — by: Student Leaders of Sewanee Think Outside the Bottle Campaign: Zack Loehle (C’17) and April Shi (C’14)
In the beginning of February, students Zack Loehle (C’17) and April Shi (C’14) attended a national conference for student leaders at the headquarters of the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign in Boston, MA. Part of a national effort to combat plastic waste and push for sustainable water use, the Sewanee chapter of the organization began more than a year ago.
Water is a human right and common resource, and the campaign works to prevent commoditization of this resource and to promote sustainable water use and packaging. Think Outside the Bottle aims reduce consumption of disposable water bottles in favor of more sustainable methods.
The students gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from the training. Topics of discussion included an explanation of corporate campaigns such as Think Outside the Bottle, important talking points and new information, and, of course, how to run a more effective campaign at the college. Both students “felt totally empowered after this training.” Questions from various students—such as how to organize bottled-water free graduation, how to negotiate with administrators and other stakeholders, and how to start a campaign from scratch—were all answered by people who had years of experience in grass-root campaign organizing.
The weekend culminated with the 16 participating students, representing colleges from the west coast to the east, all gathered on a street in downtown Boston to petition for bottled-water-free national parks. The students spoke to people about the campaign and the new push for greater sustainability in our national parks. It was a great opportunity for the students to practice public speaking and to respond to on-the-spot questions. Shi said: “We had to talk to total strangers on the street and stay positive regardless how negatively people treated us. It was definitely a challenge because it forced us to walk out of our comfort zone…I totally felt the value of myself and the value of this whole group. We shared the same faith in ourselves and the united power could reshape this earth gradually. “
Being part of the push toward a positive change to the community is always something that constantly motivates the students involved in Think Outside the Bottle. Now they are back to Sewanee, and ready for another semester of the TOTB campaign.
Yea Sewanee’s Green!