Drink deals quenching thirst for money at U's
By Andrea Carey
As Western continues to pursue a corporate sponsorship deal with a beverage company, it seems it may be following a trend that is sweeping the country.
McMaster University is currently savoring the sweet financial benefits from their recent agreement with Coca-Cola, the University of Alberta is excited about the future of a similar agreement and the University of Calgary is trying to redeem a sour and unsuccessful deal with Pepsi.
Last week McMaster signed a deal with Coca-Cola in which the company's monopoly on beverages sold on campus equals financial support for McMaster.
Greg Kaufman, president of the McMaster University Students' Union, said he could not disclose the confidential terms of the agreement but acknowledged it was a good deal that will benefit McMaster students.
Ryan Parks, president of Western's University Students' Council, said he is in favour of reaching a similar deal with either Coke or Pepsi sooner rather than later to obtain an immediate financial contribution for student aid. He said at this stage, the ball is the administration's court, as the university would have to agree to the terms of a deal.
Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, said although the prospects of an agreement are being explored, they are only in the preliminary stages at this time.
The University of Alberta tentatively finalized a deal with Coca-Cola in January agreeing to sell only their beverages on campus in exchange for over $5 million over 10 years that will be used for student bursaries and services, said David Bruch, director of housing and food services at the university. He added the deal is scheduled to be finalized by June 1.
However, not all of the beverage deals have been successful. At the University of Calgary, the agreement has recently gone flat. The university administration and Pepsi were unsuccessful at reaching a consensus after signing a letter of intent for a deal in August, said Patrick Cleary, president of University of Calgary Students' Union.
However, despite contract difficulties, Calgary is still hopeful that a deal will be reached with Pepsi in the near future. Cleary, however, described the potential deal as 'bittersweet' as it limits student choice on campus and is seen by some students as selling out.