Healthy Beverage Initiative

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, which is being furthered through the adoption of a Healthy Beverage Initiative (HBI) on our campuses.

Jointly supported by all major food-provider stakeholders at UBC, the  UBC Drinks Tapwater  campaign was launched to increase tap water consumption and reduce consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.*





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


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.