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Earth Week Ends with Take Back the Tap Day of Action

Mariah Urueta, Vice President of Take Back the Tap, leads the water bottle protest across campus on Friday.  The protest started outside of the SAC and ended at Warriner Hall. (Andraya Croft | Staff Photographer)Around 40 Student protestors march to Warriner Hall with intention to hand deliver their written letters to Thomas Trionfi, Director of Purchase and Contracting.  As they approached the building they chanted, Student Protestors hand deliver their letters to Thomas Trionfi, Director of Purchase and Contracting on Friday in Warriner Hall.  Take Back the Tap has been a four year campaign, so far receiving 3,000 petition signatures to remove the water bottles from vending machines on campus. (Andraya Croft | Staff Photographer)
For the members of Take Back The Tap, a registered student organization calling for the end of Central Michigan University’s bottled water vending contract, a staff member or administrator drinking bottled water on campus is one too many.

Dressed in all blue attire, a sea of students from the RSO marched from Rose Pond to Warriner Hall on Friday to hand deliver letters of protest to Central Michigan University’s Director of Purchasing and Contracting Thomas Trionfi. The protest marked the end of the university’s Earth Week festivities, which Take Back the Tap called a Day of Action.

Vincent Roncelli, president of Take Back the Tap, said the protest is a culmination of the group’s four year crusade against bottled water.

“We have passed legislation through student government, have gained support through students, faculty, and staff and we are still not seeing the progress we would like to see,” he said. “We met with Trionfi, earlier this year and he told us if students really wanted to see a bottled water free campus they would be coming to him directly. So that’s exactly what we are going to do.”

In its few years as a RSO, the campaign has made efforts to educate students on the negative effects of bottled water, resulting in more than 3,000 petition signatures.

Roncelli said the group expected a large crowd, since students and faculty have been supporting the campaign for years. Close to 30 students participated in the march.

Concerned community members unable to attend the event were asked to send an email to Trionfi expressing their concerns, as well.

“Mount Pleasant tap water is safe to drink and water fountains are readily available all over campus,” Roncelli said. “There is no need for CMU to continue of selling bottled water, a basic human right, for a profit.”

Mariah Urueta, Student Government Association vice president, said the RSO has been in contact with Trionfi for the last four years. During this time, Urueta, Roncelli and Trionfi had come to an agreement of not renewing the Pepsi and Coke contracts for 2015 academic year.

However, in their latest meeting, Trionfi said more support was needed for the measure, leading the group to march and hand-deliver letters to emphasize the amount of support from student body.

“One of the reasons for bringing the bottle water issue to CMU is the county next to Isabella county, Mecosta county, had an ongoing approximately 10-year court case with Nestle (bottle water),” Urueta said. “They were being sued by the county because they were taking more water than allocated and essentially stealing water from farmers.

“Water is a basic human right. Without water, there is no life and it should not be bought and sold for profit.”

Take Back the Tap believed the protest would be a powerful statement. The group wants to make CMU a sustainable school, to which Urueta said bottle water has a negative impact on the overall health of the campus environment.

While delivering the letters, Trionfi remained in his office. He said the protest was completely unexpected.

“I do the contracts, ultimately it is not my decision,” he said. “The university, being students, faculty, and staff, have to demand for it, and not only vocally. We are one of the few campuses that have Pepsi and Coke – we provide a choice.

“We aren’t going to deficit to them what they can and cant have. The choice is yours. You can get Pepsi, you can get Coke, or neither. If people decide to not purchase them, then surely the contract will end on its own.”


  1. Perhaps we need to encourage a new product for the vending machines that would benefit all parties. Reusable (but empty) water bottles. The corporations and CMU would still be able to sell water bottles. Those who forgot or don’t have their own water bottle could buy one conveniently and fill it at one of the drinking fountain/bottle fillers.

  2. michmediaperson says:

    Why do these ultra-radical liberal environmentalists want to run our lives???

    If we want to go to Meijer and buy 24 bottles of water, drink the bottles and then trash them, that’s our right under the U.S. Constitution.

    When I can, I buy sodas and beer out of Michigan so I don’t have to take the cans back to the store. I can trash them in the garbage.

    We don’t want tap water.

    Visitors to the CMU campus should have the right to buy a bottle of ice cold water and then trash it. Likewise, with Coke or Pepsi. To ban the sale of water and soda on campus is ridiculous. Visitors will see CMU as nutty.

    Heck, even the leftist Starbucks offers that opportunity.

    Where in the U.S. Constitution did the Founding Fathers say that we’re entitled to free water???

    The CM LIFE reporter wrote a cream puff story. The reporter quoted the organizer as saying they were expecting a huge crowd. Then, in the next sentence, 30 people. 30 people out of 20,000 students, faculty and staff members is a huge crowd????? Does CM LIFE still have an adviser to review these articles????

    CMU should never cave to these environmentalists. CMU needs the revenues—keep selling water and sodas so we can have the convenience of buying it, drinking it and most importantly, trashing it!!!

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