‘Take Back the Tap’ initiative aims to ban the sale of water bottles on campus

A University of Connecticut student has formed an initiative titled “Take Back the Tap” that aims to end the sale of bottled water on campus by petitioning the board of trustees.
Sarah Hill, the initiative organizer and a third-semester environmental studies major, said the petition organizers’ ultimate goal is not only to end the sale of bottled water on campus, but to ensure that all students have access to safe, healthy and free water.
However, Hill has been talking with various on-campus clubs and organizations to help get the word out and plan events, she said.
We are planning to start petitioning outside, as we are a public university and can do that whether we’re a club at the school or not.” In the future, Hill said she is hoping the group will officially partner with UConnPIRG or EcoHusky to table for more petition signatures and to hold events such as a water-tasting event to compare tap and bottled water and a screening of the movie “Tapped.” Hill hopes people get involved with Take Back the Tap both because she believes it’s an important cause and because of what she believes individuals will gain personally from being a part of it.
“Not only is it a great thing to do and an opportunity to help both the planet and other people, but it’s also just a great opportunity for yourself,” Hill said.
If you go to the marketplace, you’ll see an 80/20 split, where 20 percent is for open beverages that Coke does not offer.” Larson said though there isn’t a specific line item in the contract requiring that UConn sell Coke bottled water, the area where Coke and other beverage companies are most profitable is their bottled water sales.
“If there was a sentiment or a thought to ban bottled water through or on the campus, we would contractually have a challenge with Coke on that, as obviously the contract doesn’t provide for that, they’re trying to sell everything.” Larson said that students who are hoping to ban the sale of plastic water bottles need to recognize the financial consequences of doing so.
“Any of the profits from (the contractual) relationship actually end up going back into the central fund, toward operational expenditures and cost.
So if the plan is to ban bottled water, then it would have that financial impact.” Larson said that ultimately, his office exists to support the wants and needs of UConn’s student community.
“From my perspective is, part of my responsibility is to make sure that we’re offering a proper choice to all of it,” Larson said.

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