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Welcome to HSU Take's Back The Tap

HSU Takes Back the Tap (TBTT) is a student-led campaign that opposes the privatization of water, particularly the bottling of water and its numerous negative environmental, social and health impacts. We believe that water is sacred and a basic right belonging to all life on this planet.


In 2009, students came together to form the TBTT campaign as a way to address the multifaceted issue of bottled water. Their mission was to reduce the consumption of plastic, single-use water bottles at HSU, to promote drinking local tap water using reusable bottles, to advocate for serious investment in upgrading the water supply infrastructure nationwide so everyone has access to safe, clean drinking water, and to educate the campus and outlying communities about the numerous negative impacts of bottled water.

During the spring 2009 semester, TBTT submitted a grant proposal to the Humboldt Energy Independence Fund (HEIF) requesting funds to purchase a Hydration Station and to create a series of educational short-films. On May 12, 2009, the HEIF committee awarded TBTT the grant.

The hygienic, hands-free Hydration Stations (located in the Depot and the K & A building) provide people with an alternative to bottled water by dispensing free, filtered tap water. We hope that these units will help to break the negative perceptions people have about drinking tap water while encouraging folks to take back the tap, meaning that a shift in the way we view our public drinking water systems will galvanize a demand in drinking water infrastructure improvements and investment nationwide, which is a way to combat the privatization of our water systems while improving the quality of our drinking water. 

Furthermore, the Hydration Stations indirectly address the energy embedded in bottled water. About 80,000 single-use, plastic water bottles are sold at HSU each year. The production, transportation, storage and disposal of bottled water to meet HSU’s annual bottled water demand requires approximately 43 barrels of oil per academic year and releases 35,300 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In 2011, thanks to the hard work of the students behind the TBTT campaign, and the help of Dining Services, HSU completely phased-out the sale of single-use plastic waterbottles. This made it the first public university in California, and the third public university in the nation to truly "take back the tap".


Now, the TBTT branch continues the fight for our rights to clean tap water by providing refillable water bottle stations at HSU events such as Commencement, Earth Week, Homecoming, and more. TBTT hosts movie nights and works with the Education branch to engage in student-centered outreach. TBTT has become a model program that many other universities look to as they work toward a refillable future.

Reduce Your Water Footprint


A Comparison of Bottled and Tap Water Using Life Cycle Analysis
Take Back the Tap


National Take Back the Tap
Food and Water Watch
Corporate Accountability International

volunteer opportunities

  • Organize events such as TBTT Day of Action and free water bottle giveaways
  • Organize bottled water-free events with other campus organizations
  • Market TBTT’s goal of eliminating single-use plastic water bottles on campus