"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."
With the campaign initiated to stop the sale of bottled water on campus, a bill was drafted by students and put on the Spring 2011 ballot. The bill passed to eliminate the sale of bottled water on campus by Fall 2014!
Starting in Spring 2013, students, faculty and the UCCS administration have joined forces to bring freshman a high-quality reusable water bottle.
Vanessa Ferona - (student)
"Our goal is to promote and instill the importance of Take Back the Tap as well as create awareness of the Hydration Stations around campus to Freshman students. The main focus will be Freshman seminars, where we will give each participant a top quality reusable water bottle and travel mug after a brief introduction to sustainability and ways to get involved."
With the help of students and staff from the office of sustainability, we worked together and presented over 23 educational presentations. Targeting the 1,582 freshman students, their instructors, and teaching assistants. More than 1,000 Klean Kanteens have been given to freshman.
Sara SantaCruz - (student)
"According to the MSLK Watershed Initiative, every second 1500 water bottles are purchased in the United States and 80% of these go to landfills. Throughout the country water bottle sales continue to grow. According to the International Bottled Water Association, in 2012 the bottled water industry saw a 6.7% increase in sales. American’s insatiable appetite for bottled water has resulted in a highly energy intensive system that uses 17 million barrels of oils each year, as calculated by the Pacific Institute. The goal of the Take Back the Tap campaign is to educate incoming freshman about the negative environmental consequences of purchasing bottled water, and to give them an option of choosing a more sustainable path by accepting a high quality water bottle. This education program is a much needed transition point that parallels the 2011 UCCS referendum to ban the sale of bottled water on campus by August 2014. Last year, TBTT was executed through freshman seminar, which was effective in establishing a campus culture of reusable water bottles. This should be replicated Fall 2014 where the curriculum allows, and implementing feedback from last year to extend its influence. We will plan on ordering a total of 1650 reusable water bottles from an American based company Liberty Bottles. Previously, bottles were ordered through a company named Klean Kanteen, but due to their higher prices and previous lack of promised services a change to Liberty Bottles is warranted. Additionally, Liberty Bottleworks supports the TBTT initiative, and has offered to customize the bottle labels free of charge."