Photo Journal

In 2010, UCCS student and Students for Environmental Awareness and Sustainability (SEAS) chair Kalee Ricks led students from Carole Huber’s Geography “Changing Place” class. These students were empowered with a cause: to ban the sale of bottled water on UCCS campus. This nationwide movement, known as “Take Back the Tap”, came as people began recognizing the serious negative impacts on our environmental and human health resulting from the production, consumption and disposal of plastic bottled water.They began doing water taste tests to find out whether students, faculty and staff preferred the taste of tap versus bottled water.


 Numerous taste tests of bottled versus tap water proved that students preferred the taste of tap water. Film screenings raised awareness about the dangers of plastic bottled water. These students drafted a bill and took it to the SGA to be put on the Spring 2011 ballot.

The initiative for Take Back the Tap passed through the house and senate. The bill then went on the ballot to ban the sale of bottled water on campus by 2014. The students from this class, as well as others that joined in the effort along the way, got to work campaigning with continued taste tests, button making and signage.
The ballot initiative passed with a 57.3% vote FOR the banning of bottled water by the year 2014!
Then, in the Spring of 2012, the current SGA President Jarod Gray and SEAS faculty Advisor Carole Huber wrote a grant proposal for hydration stations on campus. Linda Kogan, Director of the Office of Sustainability, stepped up to assist the project through and coordinate with facilities for installation.
Installation began during the summer of 2012. Currently, we have 9 hydration stations and numerous "candy cane" arm spouts on water fountains installed throughout campus. They are located in Osbourne, Engineering, Dwire, Columbine, Kraemer Family Library, Main Hall and UC Hall.
These machines use a sensor to know when to begin and stop filling a bottle. They also have a counter which tells the user how many plastic bottles have been saved by refilling! Additionally, these systems filter and cool the water, ensuring hydration satisfaction.
Spouts added to water fountains help students fill their bottles without stuggle!
In Fall of 2012, students from SEAS held their first "Public Displays of Plastic". Plastic bottles were collected from recycling canisters around campus to show students how many plastic bottles our student body goes through on a daily basis. These bottles were strung up outside of the library alongside information on the human and environmental health impacts associated with bottled water.
Stay tuned for more updates, including more taste testings and free reusable bottle give aways at the Columbine hydration station (January 22nd, 1 PM) and a bottle filling ribbon cutting ceremony at the Columbine hydration station (February 1st, 11 AM).