Report: Water Fountains Hard to Find on Canadian Campuses

Water fountains are becoming an endangered species on university campuses across Canada. That's one of the findings of a national on-line survey, Corporate Initiatives on Campus -- a 2008 Snapshot, designed to document the commercial and corporate presence on Canadian campuses, according to a Sept. 2 press release.

Responses to the survey, which was developed by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and the Polaris Institute, paints a picture of rapidly decaying water fountains and a lack of access in educational institutions across the country to clean, potable tap water.

Thirty three percent of respondents noted a reduction in the number of drinking water fountains on campus. A further 43 percent of respondents cited delays in repairing existing water fountains. Others said that new buildings are being built without water fountains, that existing water fountains and cold water taps in washrooms are being removed, and that vending machines are blocking access to water fountains. One response from Brock University in St. Catharine's explained "there are no water fountains" in new buildings on campus, "only Pepsi machines."

The survey covers: the general commercial or corporate presence on campus; contracting-out; exclusive beverage marketing; access to drinking fountains/tap water, and campus action in response to these trends. Among its findings: 79 percent of respondents indicated there are fast-food suppliers on campus; 79 percent cite corporate sponsorship of activities like Welcome Week or Spirit Week; 54 percent of respondents said their campus had an exclusive arrangement with Coke and 40 percent an exclusive arrangement with Pepsi.

To access a summary of the survey results, visit http://www.policyalternatives.ca.

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