Media Releases

Canada’s largest university goes bottled-water free

September 13, 2011

TORONTO, ON – As the aca­d­e­m­ic year begins, bot­tled water will no longer be avail­able at the major­i­ty of loca­tions on the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s St. George cam­pus. Over a three-year peri­od, sales of bot­tled water at U of T Mis­sis­sauga and U of T Scar­bor­ough will also be phased out.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to joins over a dozen oth­er cam­pus­es that have pledged to go bot­tled water-free. The ban comes after a cam­paign spear­head­ed by stu­dents at the Uni­ver­si­ty who have been rais­ing aware­ness on cam­pus of the envi­ron­men­tal and social impact of the com­mod­i­fi­ca­tion of water.

“Bot­tled water turns a basic human right into a com­mod­i­ty,” says U of T master’s degree stu­dent Leanne Ras­mussen, who helped ini­ti­ate the ban as a mem­ber of the Pub­lic Water Ini­tia­tive group. “It is crit­i­cal that peo­ple under­stand the threat of pri­vate con­trol on uni­ver­sal access to clean, safe drink­ing water.”

Clara Ho, VP Uni­ver­si­ty Affairs for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Stu­dents’ Union, said the ban rep­re­sents a his­toric moment for the Uni­ver­si­ty com­mu­ni­ty.

“Stu­dents are excit­ed to see the com­mit­ment of the admin­is­tra­tion to make clean drink­ing water more acces­si­ble across the Uni­ver­si­ty,” says Ho. “From the suc­cess of the bot­tled water-free cam­paign, we see that stu­dents work­ing togeth­er can achieve a pos­i­tive change for envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice.”

This fall on the St. George cam­pus, food ser­vice out­lets and vend­ing machines will stop offer­ing bot­tled water. Mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty will now have access to new foun­tains and water-refill sta­tions. To raise aware­ness of the bot­tled water ban, there will be an “OnTap” event on cam­pus on Sep­tem­ber 15th in the Will­cocks Com­mons, fea­tur­ing water games, a scav­enger hunt and water experts.

‘The move away from bot­tled water sales illus­trates the university’s com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­i­ty as well as the pow­er of stu­dent engage­ment,” says Anne Mac­don­ald, Direc­tor of Ancil­lary Ser­vices at U of T, whose team helped to facil­i­tate the changes. “This ban shows just how impor­tant our stu­dents are in dri­ving pos­i­tive change.”


For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Media Rela­tions

Clara Ho
VP Uni­ver­si­ty Affairs
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Stu­dents’ Union
(647) 896‑6888

Leanne Ras­mussen
Pub­lic Water Ini­tia­tive
(647) 885‑5742