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No more Coke, Administration favors Pepsi

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A Drew student enjoying the benefits of the newly placed Pepsi soda fountain machine in The Ehinger Center (Louis Annenberg)

A Drew student enjoying the benefits of the newly placed Pepsi soda fountain machine in The Ehinger Center (Louis Annenberg)

In order to prevent the costs of tuition from rising, Drew University has chosen 5-year beverage contract with Pepsi. Last year, both Pepsi and Coca-Cola brand beverages were on sale at Drew, but now only Pepsi products including Pepsi-Cola, Sierra Mist, Tropicana and SoBe will be available to purchase on campus.

The two brands are competing for market dominance on university campuses. Schools like Rutgers University, Seton Hall College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, St. Peter’s College and Rider College are also Pepsi schools. “The two greatest sources of revenue for a university are tuition and endowment. We’ve been trying hold increasements to a minimum,” Chief Communications Officer David Muha said, adding, “Drew and other universities are looking for other sources of revenue, and a beverage contract is a common way.” Muha also said Drew was given a “non-nominal” amount of money from Pepsi. Muha believes this choice was a good one. “I think this contract benefits each student to keep tuition down, whether you drink soda or not, I think this is good for all students” he said.

The choice to change to become a Pepsi-only school limits the choices of Drew students to access some of their favorite beverages. In this week’s Acorn poll, Coca-Cola ranks at 26% oppose to Pepsi at 12%. However, Drewids clearly prefer water at 53%. This contract does not affect student’s water accessibility.

The benefits to the new contract extend beyond preventing tuition increases. PepsiCo’s website explained some of the efforts they are trying to make products with better nutritional values. The company is trying to reduce the amounts of sugar in their products, “our effort to reduce the amount of added sugar in our products has been steady in recent years in a challenging environment. Despite strong consumer taste preferences for sugar and complex regulatory processes for alternatives, we have made progress toward achieving our initiatives,” Pepsi says on their website http://www.pepsico.com/Purpose/Human-Sustainability/Our-Products.html. The website cites several reduced sugar products like Pepsi Max, Trop50, and Gatorade.

However, the two big companies do not necessarily have a positive image on campus. “Trading one bad habit for another, it’s not better or worse,” Matthew Mattboudreau (’13), Adviser to the Board of Drew Students for Sustainable Food, said. Meanwhile, the unpopularity goes beyond nutrition. “Both Pepsi and Coca-Cola have monopolies on many third world countries’ water supplies, so I dislike them. But I don’t boycott all of their products because there are so many of them,” Valarie Dohere (’14) said, referencing the documentary “Flow.”

Part of the contract with Pepsi includes one of Pepsi’s Dream Machines, a recycling program that rewards participants with points from Greenopolis, an organization whose mission it is to promote recycling. These Dream Machines will allow Drew students to recycle their plastic bottles and cans to receive these points, but they will also allow for each user to contribute to a veteran’s health. “In addition to being kind to the environment, each time you recycle in a Dream Machine you are taking action to help support a disabled U.S. veteran – the more bottles and cans people recycle in a Dream Machine, the more support PepsiCo will provide to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, a national program offering post-9/11 disabled U.S. veterans free education and experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management,” says the Dream Machine’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/dreammachine/info.