‘Take Back the Tap’ wins grant to improve tap water access on campus


Take back the tap is an initiate to add more water refill stations around campus. There are key areas like residence halls that lack refill stations. (Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

University of Connecticut student-run campaign Take Back the Tap was recently awarded $1,500 to install a hydration station or make other improvements to tap water access on UConn’s campus after winning a contest.

The competition, titled “Tap-A-Palooza,” was hosted by Food & Water Watch (FWW), an organization that “mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water and climate problems of our time,” according to their website.

The contest was centered around “pledges,” where students from participating schools would text in to demonstrate their pledge to choose tap water over bottled water whenever possible, fill a reusable bottle with tap water and support policies that promote clean, affordable tap water, UConn Take Back the Tap president and FWW intern Sarah Hill said.

“We just asked people to text in rather than to pledge, though, since it’s slightly less of a mouth full,” Hill said. “And we also did this because we took into consideration how long we could really hold people’s attention for, especially at dining hall tabling when they’re mainly passing by to get food or go back to their room.”

Hill said in order to campaign for UConn to win the grant Take Back the Tap did class raps, spread awareness of the contest on social media, chalked outside and emailed as many clubs as they could.

UConn won first place in the Total Pledges Collected category with 1,722 pledges, according to an email from FWW. It also took third place in the Pledges Per Capita category, with 7.22 percent of UConn students texting in.

Hill said Take Back the Tap had been looking at the leaderboard closely for the entire competition and was in first place for overall texts for a majority of it.

“We’re… really excited to be able to use this money to install a refill station. I know, it would only be one since they’re so expensive and we may even need another organization on campus to help us with the cost of one, so it may seem somewhat anticlimactic since it’s not this broad scale change happening,” Hill said. “However, by installing one refill station we can really call out UConn on not doing their job by installing refill stations where they’re needed, with…the most needed area being dorms.”

Hill said by getting money to buy a new refill station, Take Back the Tap can show what they accomplished and ask administrators why they have not pushed for more refill stations.

“We really just want to make positive change for the UConn community and the environment,” Hill said.

Gabriella DeBenedictis is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabriella.debenedictis@uconn.edu.

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