The University of Vermont will stop sales of bottled water on campus within a year, adding to a small but growing number of institutions that have done so. Vermont administrators said the drive to stop bottled-water sales was led by students. The university has set up bottle-filling stations (pictured at the left) around campus to prepare for the contract’s end.
An announcement about the move noted that the university would not renew its contract with Coca-Cola, which had exclusive “pouring rights” on the campus and sold about 1.1 million bottles of beverages there each year. Dining services, cafes, and retail stores on campus “will choose a mix of beverages through their own national contracts and local connections, allowing for greater flexibility in addressing environmental and social values in relation to the beverages supplied,” the announcement says.
There was real money tied up in beverage sales under the Coke contract. A Chronicle story about bottled water on campus said that Coca-Cola contributed about $500,000 each year to financial aid, athletics, and other programs at UVM. The announcement says that the university hopes to make up some of that money with sales under new contracts.