The University of Central Arkansas is launching the Rethink Your Drink campaign on campus during September to educate students, faculty and staff on the harmful effects of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages and to encourage healthier beverage options.

The campaign, developed by the Healthy Active Arkansas initiative, is being implemented through a unique collaboration. Jenna Davidson, director for the Office of Student Wellness and Development, Alicia Landry, Employee Wellness coordinator and assistant professor, and Lauren Allinson, campus dietitian, collaborated to create this campus action plan.

The Rethink Your Drink action plan includes:

  • Educational events will offer free fruit- and herb-infused water and provide visual demonstrations of the amounts of sugar in soft drinks and other beverages. The events will be held on the first floor of the Student Centeron Sept. 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sept. 18 from 12-2 p.m. Facilitators will provide guidance to participants on making healthier beverage choices such as 1 percent or fat-free milk, tea and coffee with no sugar or seltzer water.
  • 30 Day Soda Free Challenge – Faculty and staff of the university are encouraged to go “soda-free” for one month. The goal is to drink beverages with no added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or alcohol every day for the next 30 days. This challenge is a component of the employee BeWell program in which employees can earn points and work towards incentives such as discounts for health insurance.
  • Bring Your Water Bottle to Work/School Day is an event designed to encourage employees and students to drink more water and create an environment that supports healthy beverage choices will be Sept. 19.
  • Rethink Your Drink posters will be placed near vending machines and materials in the cafeteria and around campus.
  • Social media messages with facts and strategies from the toolkit will be posted throughout the month from UCA Student Wellness.
  • September newsletter from the campus dietitian was distributed Sept. 4.
  • Webinar Wednesday on Sept. 26 for employees.
  • Weekly emails will be sent to faculty and staff for continued motivation.

Healthy Active Arkansas is a 501 c (3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase the number of children, adolescents and adults who are at a healthy weight. The team is working on ways to help Arkansas communities, schools and the state be healthier, particularly in the realm of physical activity and nutrition. Members represent a wide variety of organizations, agencies, and health care providers.To learn more about the Rethink Your Drink campaign, visit the toolkit at https://healthyactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Rethink-Your-Drink-Toolkit.pdf