Why Should High Schools Have Bottled Water Vending Machines On Campus?

Have you ever craved for some water to drink while at school? Have you ever run around campus searching for that precious water fountain only to find that it is bottle-vending-machine-300x291not working? If you answer yes, you are not alone. I recently conducted a survey among students in five high schools in the San Francisco Bay area. About 80% of them indicated that they regularly felt thirsty or extreme thirsty while attending school, and more than 90% stated that having better access to drinking water while at school would help improve their performance at school.

A few years ago, the federal government passed a legislation which mandates the availability of free drinking water during lunchtime in U.S. public schools. However, due to increasing budget cuts, many schools have not upgraded their drinking fountain facilities or increased their drinking fountain availability. In many large public schools, even though the minimum federal standard is met, the drinking fountains either do not function properly or are unhygienic. As a result, students are not willing to use the drinking fountains on campus. In the survey I conducted, more than 70% of the students indicated that they did not want to use the drinking fountains on campus for various reasons. This means that during the seven or so hours when the students conduct their main learning activities during the day, they pretty much have no access to drinking water!

According to a research done by Institute of Medicine, an adequate drink intake for men is 3 liters per day which equals to about 6 bottles of 500 ml water, and an adequate drink intake for women is 2.2 liters per day which equals to 4 to 5 bottles of 500 ml water. For teenagers, they need to drink extra water to compensate for the additional fluid loss due to their tendency to engage in activities that make them sweat. Thus, the fact that the students are not able to drink water during school not only affects their performance and activities at school, but also poses serious health threat to them.

One solution to this pressing problem is to enhance the quality and quantity of drinking fountains at schools. This involves overhauling the existing deteriorating drinking fountains, increasing the number of drinking fountains on campuses, and maintaining the hygiene of water fountains. Accomplishing all these tasks will take time and require a lot of resources. Given the increasing budget constraints in many school districts, reforming drinking fountains at school campuses is not an encouraging prospect.

Then, the alternative is imperative and pressing: to provide bottled water to students on campus via vending machines. With bottled water easily accessible, students can acquire the water intake required by their bodies, can stay safely hydrated, and can better enjoy their days at school. In my survey, 100% of the students indicated that they would support providing bottled water vending machines on campus, and more than 90% suggested that they would enjoy their school days better by using bottled water vending machines on campus. For a better learning environment, for a happier school day, and for a healthier life, let’s have bottled water vending machines on campus!

8 thoughts on “Why Should High Schools Have Bottled Water Vending Machines On Campus?

  1. This is very interesting. I can say that here in Italy there are not fountains in the schools becouse the students can drink stright from the tap in the bathrooms. The water is very good and certified. However many of these drink from the bottles that they carry on from their houses.

    Only a question: If the water is important for the health and for the perfomance, and if the federal government passed a legislation why the student should pay for the water brought in the vending machines?

    Bye and sorry for my english- 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your information and comment! You’ve raised a very good point: Why should students have to pay in order to drink water at school? Well, ideally, students should be able to drink water at school for free whenever they are thirsty. However, as I pointed out in the above article, due to resource constraints, it is a challenging task to provide adequate and convenient access to free drinking water for all students in public schools. In addition, a large number of students prefer bottled water to the existing free water fountains at their schools. Therefore, as an alternative and supplement to the existing facilities, vending machines can provide drinking water to those students who are willing and able to pay. In other words, vending machines allow more students to have water at school. Hopefully, in the near future, we’ll have sufficient clean drinking facilities on campus that all students are willing and able to use.

    By the way, your English is excellent. Grazie!


  3. Interesting. I personally am opposed to disposable water bottles as they are made from oil, used once, then (usually) tossed into landfill. Some towns in Australia have discouraged people from buying them and instead put ‘refill stations’ (BYO bottle) around the place. I know CA is in drought but surely drinking water for schools attracts exemptions?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment! “Refill station” for drinking water is a great idea. It is certainly a viable alternative to the existing outdated drinking fountains at many schools here in the U.S. But I am not sure how it will work out with busy (and often lazy) teenagers – I being one of them. It does not look or feel too cool to carry a water bottle all day long in my already heavily-stuffed backpack. Maybe our Aussie peers are more disciplined and better behaved:). Anyway, I agree that “refill station” is more environmentally friendly and is a wonderful idea!

      As to the drought here in California, it does not affect drinking water. We drink a lot!


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