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Healthy Beverage Initiative

Our UBC community members work and learn within a demanding, high-performance academic environment. Having access to nourishing food and beverages, and the necessary information to make healthy choices, helps them thrive. A Healthy Beverage Initiative is an important step towards changing our on-campus environment to better support their wellbeing. 

Sugar sweetened beverages* are the single-largest contributor of added sugar in the diet. Recognizing this, the Food and Nutrition committee and all major food-provider stakeholders worked together with students, staff and faculty across the university to promote tap water consumption and reduce consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. 

UBC Drinks Tap Water campaign 


Community Engagement

The Healthy Beverage Initiative at UBC is a complex undertaking with both fiscal and operational considerations. Community input was crucial in determining the best approach to this initiative; UBC Wellbeing led a number of engagement sessions and surveyed faculty, staff and students to ensure that a range of perspectives and interests were represented. All major food-provider stakeholders as UBC — Student Housing and Hospitality Services, Athletics & Recreation, UBC Okanagan Food Services, and AMS — have informed and championed this initiative from the beginning.

Implementing the Healthy Beverage Initiative

Several key actions emerged from campus-wide engagement sessions and were approved by UBC Executive and the UBC Wellbeing Steering Committee in summer 2018:

Action 1: Encourage drinking water consumption.

  • Explore and implement opportunities to adapt our environment to increase safe drinking water consumption.

Action 2: Promote healthier beverage choices with our community.

  • Create a campaign to encourage our community members to make healthier, more nutritious beverage choices, and promote drinking water.

Action 3: Modify our environment to support healthier beverage consumption.

  • Food service providers commit to making meaningful changes to the beverage environment to encourage healthier beverage choices.

These actions also support UBC’s draft Water Action Plan and contribute to the university’s sustainability goals by encouraging the use of reusable bottles in lieu of single-use plastics.

For examples of campus initiatives that support these actions, see the HBI backgrounder.  

For more information on tap water on campus, visit the Risk Management website


Vision for a Nutritionally Sound Campus

The UBC Action Framework for a Nutritionally Sound Campus set out the following vision:  “A nutritionally sound campus increases intake of safe, healthy, and sustainable food, supports development of nutrition skills and knowledge, and promotes health and wellbeing for all members of the UBC community.” One of the goals of this vision is to increase water consumption at UBC. 

Jointly supported by all major food-provider stakeholders at UBC, the Healthy Beverage Initiative was launched to further one of the goals of this vision and support UBC Wellbeing by increasing tap water consumption and reducing consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. 


UBC Drinks Tap Water

The UBC Drinks Tap Water campaign was launched at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan to promote tap water and reduce consumption of sugar sweetened beverages on our campuses. 

Check out the campaign at 

Learn more about how UBC keeps our tap water safe and drinkable. 




What is a sugar-sweetened beverage?*

Sugar-sweetened beverages are defined as pre-packaged beverages that include any form of sugar added during the manufacturing process.

These beverages include soft drinks, energy drinks, lemonade, sweetened iced teas, sports drinks, sweetened fortified water, and fruit drinks with less than 100% fruit juice.

Sugar sweetened beverages are the single-largest contributor of added sugar in the diet. 



We all have a hand in shaping campus environments that support health, wellbeing, and sustainability. By championing wellbeing, we can build stronger and more inclusive communities at UBC and beyond.