Will it be Pepsi or Coke?

John Gramila

Lawrence students were recently asked to take a survey entitled “Exclusive Beverage Contract,” asking whether Pepsi or Coke products should remain in the dining halls and for sale on campus.
The purpose of this survey was to determine if and how the student body would like such an exclusive beverage contract implemented.
Director of Dining Services Patrick Niles says, “I’m not convinced that we should sell out to the corporate culture, but there are some definite benefits to this system, and we wanted to submit it to the students and see how they felt.”
The LUCC Student Welfare Committee has the final say on the contract and will be informed of the survey’s results Monday.
If the committee members were to recommend the adoption of an exclusive beverage contract, Lawrence would issue a proposal and ask any interested beverage companies to respond.
The company would be chosen on the basis of how many of Lawrence’s conditions they agree to meet. The conditions could include funding for the new campus center, the creation of a scholarship fund, and ID card readers on all vending machines on campus.
In addition to these up front benefits, Lawrence would be able to negotiate a maximum price for items purchased from the chosen company.
Some students who took the survey expressed concern that the money saved from a contract would be used to increase the profits of Dining Services.
Niles says that this is impossible. “Dining Services is a part of Lawrence’s operational budget, so any savings would be realized immediately for Lawrence and would just be in addition to the other benefits of the program.”
Exclusive beverage contracts often demand that a certain number of vending machines are installed on campus, and the chosen company generally pushes the school for higher sales.
These conditions are often criticized, with some saying that these types of contracts are unethical and lead to a dangerously sharp increase in soda consumption for America’s youth.
Most students surveyed said that they couldn’t care less what soda is used at Downer and Lucinda’s, but some were adamant in the defense of their chosen beverage.
The changes that could happen at the grill are what most students say they worry about most. There is concern that the smaller companies represented there are in danger of being displaced by lower-quality substitutes.
Both Naked Juice and Nantucket Nectars could be pushed off the Lawrence campus depending on the terms of the contract, although it is expected that student concern will be enough to keep those beverages.
If the Student Welfare Committee, upon receiving the survey results, decides to implement this contract, students can expect the shift to a single beverage provider to be complete by the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year.