Concordia to remove bottled water from campus vending machines

Three-year project will include water fountain upgrades

Concordia University has announced a plan to remove bottled water from vending machines on campus.

The announcement comes just days after students at the university voted to ban bottled water on campus in a non-binding plebiscite.

The school intends to retrofit or replace the majority of water fountains on campus, over the next three years, so that they’ll be better for filling reusable bottles. Once the first stage of the upgrade is completed, around a year from now, bottled water will be pulled from vending machines.

“This is not only about bottled water but is consistent with the university’s values of promoting responsible sustainability practices,” acting vice-president, services, Roger Côté said in the university’s press release. “It’s the next step in Concordia’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the quality of life of the community in which we live.”

You might remember that there was a bit of a brouhaha a few months back, when Concordia re-signed an exclusive contract with Pepsi. A student threatened to sue the university and its former acting president, after the school allegedly broke a promise to consult with campus environmental groups before signing a new beverage deal. Those threats don’t appear to have gone anywhere, some lawyers letters may have been sent but I’ve been unable to find anything filed with the courts. The student in question, Laura Beach, was recently elected to the university’s board of governors. The Pepsi contract allows the university to decide whether bottled water will be sold in vending machines.

Concordia isn’t the first Quebec university to restrict the sale of bottled water on campus, a ban at Bishop’s University went into effect last fall. According to the Polaris Institute, 10 universities across Canada have banned the sale of bottled water on campus.

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