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UArizona students document school's COVID-19 wastewater testing program

Two students at the University of Arizona created a documentary on the wastewater testing at the school and now it's ready to be seen.
Posted at 6:11 AM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 17:56:36-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Two students at the University of Arizona created a documentary on the wastewater testing at the school and now it's ready to be seen.

"I thought that the work they were doing was really interesting and something that I kind of wanted to learn more about," John Taylor, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona said. "This was a way to both learn more and teach people about what was going on at the U of A."

Taylor graduated with a minor in film this past semester, but it was his STEM major that led to the research on this project. Taylor worked closely with Dr. Ian Pepper, University of Arizona's WEST Center Director.

"What I've come to realize through studying and doing wastewater epidemiology is that it is the absolute truth," Dr. Pepper said. "Poop doesn't lie."

Taylor and his film partner Carter Hayek used this idea to title the film Solution Number Two.

The two followed university staff through the process of collecting, transporting, and testing the university's wastewater at dorms. The school's testing has been effective in helping to contain outbreaks on campus by catching COVID-19 cases before they spread.

Professor Jacob Bricca, an Associate Professor in the School of Theater, Film, Television, guided the students through the process of pitching, shooting, and editing the documentary. He says that most of his class had to be taught over zoom. The pandemic also changed the way Taylor and Hayek worked together.

"It's definitely difficult to help and participate fully in the filming and editing process when you are having to work virtually," Taylor said.

You can watch the 8-minute documentary online here. Solution Number Two and the other films from Professor Bricca's class are available now through Feb. 17.