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Pelican Water Scholarship 3rd Place Winner: Keith Fell


Countless rousing essays were submitted to Pelican Water for our bi-annual College Scholarship Contest, but Keith Fell’s direct and powerful essay that cuts to the core of the messaging and funding issues inherent with water treatment awareness grabbed our attention immediately. Keith’s essay encouraged innovative thinking to properly inform the students of today how their water conservation, or lack thereof, will determine the course of our planet’s future. Pelican Water is proud to recognize Keith as our 3rd place prizewinner.

The son of a civil engineer, Keith Fell understands the importance of water conservation and approaches the topic with great care and conviction. Keith is a senior at Pensacola High School, where he juggles a challenging course load of International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement classes with extracurriculars, sports, and service to his community. Keith will utilize his $500 scholarship from Pelican Water when he commences his undergraduate education next fall.

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What are some ways to instill a greater sense of urgency with water conservation in young people and what would be the marketing slogan Pelican Water would use to highlight the new campaign?

What are some ways to help spread the word about the dangers of lead in America’s water supply and how this water crisis is not just limited to Flint?

As the son of a Civil Engineer, I’m often involved in conversations that concern potable water and wastewater. Water conservation and the urgency to better educate young people should be an easy task – bit it isn’t. Young people today are so focused on school and distracted by things like social media, that we often miss or overlook warning signs. In the United States today, we have numerous areas experiencing drought-like conditions. The crisis in Flint, Michigan was driven by poor decisions by people that felt that dollars were more important than water quality. I feel that social media, being a communication tool that young people rely on, should be used in a more wide-spread manner by water companies and regulatory agencies to “blanket” cover users with more need-to-know information. Further, knowing how specific points-of-view are widely spread by teachers in school, I feel that messages concerning the environment should be addressed in more detail in the classrooms.

The marketing slogan to use to highlight the conservation campaign could be something as simple as “Closing the faucet opens avenues of possibilities – conserve water to preserve the future”. This slogan plants the physical image of closing a faucet to the claim of preserving the future. It’s a true slogan. This slogan gets you to think. This slogan mildly clarifies that water conservation is essential to the survival of mankind.

In addition to social media and the school system, mass exposure to the water problems in Flint must come from the news media. I am not aware of a detailed report or explanation of the problem in a projectable format that has been produced in a fashion that would be understood by more “common” people. The problem with lead in public drinking water systems is not just limited to Flint and their use of a questionable surface water as a source, but it is a potential problem in any system using old distribution piping. The national television industry could be contracted by the federal government to produce a documentary that better explains the issues behind the problem and give options for either testing your own drinking water or finding alternate drinking supplies or sources.

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