With the looming threat of climate change approaching faster than ever, it is imperative that we continue to fight back in any way that we can. Whether this means as a planet, country, state or university, this danger is not going away. We have already seen some of the devastating effects climate change can have on our country: An increased number and strength of hurricanes, the California wildfires and debilitating heat waves and cold fronts. These problems are only going to become worse in the coming years, which is why it is up to our generation to try to put an end to them. University of Connecticut student and “Take Back the Tap” organizer Sarah Hill is trying to do just that.
“Take Back the Tap” is an initiative that you may have already heard about on campus. It is a movement designed to prevent students from using plastic water bottles at UConn, with the ultimate goal of banning plastic water bottles on campus altogether. Although a worthy cause, as any activist knows, there will always be roadblocks along the way. One of the major concerns this movement has faced is students’ desire for the convenience of plastic water bottles, specifically due to the fact that there are not always places to refill reusable bottles. Luckily, instead of giving up on their cause, the “Take Back the Tap” movement is approaching this as an opportunity to improve UConn by increasing the number of water fountains around campus. This, in turn, will hopefully encourage students to use reusable water bottles by increasing their access to drinking water.
While it may be shocking to some, there are many areas on campus that have few or no water fountains. This means some buildings have no areas to get clean, drinkable water other than a bathroom. Even more shocking: Some of these are residence halls. With this being said, it is no wonder that some students are more likely to use disposable plastic water bottles rather than refillable ones.
However, Hill and the “Take Back the Tap” team are approaching this problem in a useful manner. Rather than placing drinking fountains randomly around areas with the most traffic, they asked for student input on where to place new fountains and are starting with areas that have been most requested by students. Not only is this a helpful way of solving this problem, it is ensuring that students have a voice on campus, which can often be difficult with such a large student body.
Climate change is without a doubt the greatest threat facing our planet. Sometimes, it is easy to feel hopeless and powerless when there are so many daunting reports and little legislation to help the cause. However, it is the combination of small movements and efforts like “Take Back the Tap” that will help our university make a difference.