Published: March 27, 2017

Water bottles at CU BoulderAs temperatures rise signaling the start of spring, students and faculty are beginning to swap out their thermoses for cooler alternatives. Instead of reaching for plastic bottled water at local convenience stores, the University of Colorado Boulder community is turning to more sustainable options. From Nalgenes covered in stickers to Camelbaks displaying Greek letters, students are using reusable water bottles more and more.

CU Boulder senior, Hannah Cope, carries her Klean Kanteen on a daily basis, whether at work or in class. Cope prefers her reusable bottle to plastic bottled water because it’s environmentally conscious and the healthier option. Cope says, “Glass is the most clean product to drink water out of.”

Water bottles at CU BoulderStudents motivate University changes

Student involvement in ensuring an environmentally conscious campus is not a new venture. In 2005, students voted on the Environmental Improvement Initiative, which dedicates a portion of student fees to “incorporating renewable energy, efficiency, recycling and waste reduction, and other innovative projects” across campus.

Only a few years later, students rallied together again to make further changes within the CU community, and created the University Colorado Boulder chapter of Take Back the Tap (TBTT). TBTT was established with two objectives in mind, to help CU get to their goal of zero waste by 2020 through banning the sale of plastic, single use bottles on campus and promote/increase use of CU water refill stations. The student organization has proven successful, with recent achievements like implementing a new water refill station in Meunzinger last semester.

"The main takeaway is that we have the potential to take the future of our campus into our hands…This is our time to make a difference!”
Meghan Payne, Take Back the Tap

Meaghan Payne, Take back the tap

Meaghan Payne is one of two coordinators for TBTT, and has noticed mixed participation from the CU Boulder community regarding this movement. Payne shared that in her experience, students and faculty at University events lean towards more sustainable water bottle options, but on the other hand, Payne still notices students purchasing plastic water bottles from campus vendors on a daily basis. While strides for change have been made over the years, Payne emphasized the importance of continually working towards the end goal, the banning of plastic water bottles across campus.

Embrace the Tap

Looking to get involved and help CU become more sustainable?

Pick up a reusable water bottle from the bookstore or join Take Back the Tap at one of their weekly meetings (Wednesday from 6-7pm in Ketchum 1B64).

 For more information on Take Back the Tap, email