Volume 91, Issue 82

Thursday, March 5, 1998

Lady Liberty


Drink up

Western is about to decide if it's thirsty enough to consider a deal for corporate sponsorship with a beverage company – and the idea is probably among the most refreshing ones seen all year.

The agreement would essentially mean the university's administration and University Students' Council would negotiate a single-source deal with a company like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, so their beverages would be sold exclusively on campus in exchange for some big corporate bucks.

Many other colleges and universities across the country have similar deals which have earned millions of dollars for their campuses. Here at Western, the USC hopes to use all the money from such a deal (an expected $10 million or so) to put towards student aid – in the form of a student endowment fund.

It seems the USC is not into the deal just for the taste of it, but is actually looking to the 'generation next' of students. Considering the current climate of tuition increases for years to come, any extra gulp of cash to help with student aid would be pretty tasty deal.

But by no means will this contract quench everyone's thirst. The exclusivity of one company's products on campus will eliminate competition and also limit student choice when it comes to deciding on what to wash down their CentreSpot lunches with. And if you are one of those people who can't even look at a Pepsi product because of your overwhelming love for Coke, I guess it would kinda suck if Western opted for the Pepsi deal. Students at other universities with similar deals also see such a move as "selling out."

But take a look around next time you reach for a refreshment on campus. It already seems Western is favouring the beverages produced by the Coca-Cola Company. When was the last time you encountered a pop machine with Pepsi sprawled across its front? Student choice seems to be pretty limited already.

So what's the next step? Administration and the USC must now negotiate a deal – one that will hopefully be put into place for September and one that will maximize the opportunity of using this money for student aid.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998