Mount Carmel College went Hydrophilic!

8 Jan

A team comprising of three mentors- Sanjai K, Deepa Adkoli and Veena Krishnan and four mentees Shankarjyothi, Shubha, Smitha and Latha Y, decided to call themselves ‘team hydrophilic’ as they realized they were a bunch of nature buffs who wanted to do something about conserving water.

The word ‘hydrophilic’ literally means ‘water loving!’  Their team believes that “we may not get all the water we want, but we can have the water we need.” In the brainstorming workshop session a team member was noted saying “we want to start a dedicated movement that goes viral in sensitizing and encouraging people to practice water conservation.”
After a round of brainstorming with their team along with other Impact Together participants they decided to declare a “No Water Day” – A water conservation awareness initiative by Hydrophilic Team- in some colleges where they did their user research.

Their field research findings in a couple of colleges led them to understand some important user behavioral aspects like-

  • Students tend to be flippant about using water wisely.
  • Students who tend to be conscious about saving water at home were found to have a different attitude towards it while in college.
  • Lastly, college authorities didn’t seem perturbed about the need to save water (they encountered some leaking pipes, taps, etc).

These findings helped team members process few insights like-

  • Students tend to be less concerned about using water judiciously since they do not see the immediate impact of saving water.
  • Also, water being a shared resource a student doesn’t have much incentive to save it others may waste it anyway.
  • Lastly but not the least, they fail to see the monetary impact / benefit of saving water.

These insights assisted the team hydrophilic to form a design challenge- “How might we make it fun and cooler for the college students to save water thereby creating a multiplier effect to spread awareness?” Their long-term vision is to reduce the wastage of water in colleges by spreading awareness about water conservation practices in institutions.

After several months of going deeper into the heart of the problem, involving themselves in some secondary research, much deliberation over the best practices and planning on effective ways of approaching college students it was on the 15th of December, 2012,  that they launched their first-ever event! The plan was to conduct “No water day” campaign as part of the Mount Carmel College’s fest to promote the idea of using water wisely among numerous students.

During the course of their “intervention” they conducted 4 fun activities around the college campus.  The underlying purpose of all these activities was to encourage youngsters to take a pledge to save water and use it wisely.

This is how team hydrophilic with their new joinee mentees Shilpa, Ramya, Lakshmi, Divya, Kavitha and Gayathri, mentor Veena & Deepa and Nikhil & Kaustubhi of team Mentor Together went around celebrating NO WATER DAY-

Good-Deed Ballot :-
Ramya and Shilpa went around the campus with a ballot collecting stories of small-time water conservationists written in a few words, who dropped their chits of good deeds in the ballot and shared the stories with them.

Did You Know Quiz :-
Gayathri, Lakshmi and Deepa went around the campus asking fun trivia about water, distributing sweets and stickers to those who are “aware” about the issues in question.

Your Glass of Water :-
Divya, Kavitha and Veena walked around the campus with two glasses of water, one with muddy water and one with very little clean water. Are you wondering what they did? Well they had  a lot of fun asking people to whack their brains and come up with as many answers as possible over how can they use this glass of muddy and clear water each!?  The innovators of the times were congratulated and appreciated with fun goodies.

Handful of water :-
Nikhil and Kaustubhi from Mentor Together team had two teams of volunteer participants play the game of transporting a handful of water. The task was to diligently transport water from one mug kept at one end of the  queue to the other using their hands, within a time limit of 2 minutes.  The team with more water in the mug at the other end won. The participants and winners were given stickers and candies each who in return pledged to save water while on campus. They literally made every drop count!

With the help of MCC’s student’s union the team succeeded in hosting a small prize distribution ceremony. In order to reinforce the best practices and the right attitude the best respondents for each game won a fun gift voucher at the end of the day.

At the end of the day team hydrophilic’s mentor Deepa remarked  “In a nutshell, it was a memorable & enriching experience. The enthusiasm shown by the mentees was contagious, so needless to say, their high energy levels kept us all on our toes. From the perspective of the audience, it was ultimately a mixed bag of reactions. Some were approachable and while others didn’t seem interested. There were challenges to be faced, that was a given. However, the passion drove us in overcoming the obstacles. We were also pleasantly surprised at the water conservation awareness levels some students showed. Is it a regular feature with students everywhere is an inquiry that remains to be done. The bottom line is there was a paradigm shift in thought process and it was fun sharing, learning, exchanging ideas and our rationale.

The team members plan to restart their intervention and reach out to a larger audience in the month of January. They also want to continue churning out this movement to do their share in saving the source of life- water.

So a hope to make a positive social change lingers on…


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