Coca-Cola has provided WTAMU students, faculty and staff with beverages for years, but after more than a decade that reign has come to an end as Pepsi makes its début as the official thirst quencher for the University.
“It’s an exclusive contract,” Vice President of Business and Finance Gary Barnes said. “Everything we have to do on campus, every product, has to be a Pepsi product.”
The switch from Coke to Pepsi is a campus-wide change that will be exhibited in the cafeterias, convenient stores and hallways of WT beginning this fall 2012 until the year 2020.
The decision to make the switch came in the wake of Coke’s expired contract with WT. In order to renew their contract, Coke had to bid against Pepsi and the race for the best offer was on.
“After we talked about it and we understood what was included in their proposals, Coke and Pepsi gave us their best and final offer and Pepsi’s offer was huge,” Barnes said.
Pepsi’s offer not only supplies the school with nearly 20 new beverages such as Mountain Dew, Gatorade and SoBe, but also includes $43,000 worth of scholarships, a part of the deal the administration hopes students will be pleased with, said Barnes. “If the right information goes out, I think people will understand that Pepsi was the best provider for vending for the campus,” Barnes said.
A survey was conducted in the spring of 2012 regarding preferences for either provider. According to Barnes, there was slight preference for Coke among faculty and staff, but no so much with the students.
“I think part of that is because faculty and staff are pretty well geographically located and our students come from all over,” Barnes said.
Despite optimism from the University administration, some students aren’t too excited about the switch.
“If I had a vote I definitely would have been against it,” Brett Dunlap, a junior Computer Information System major, said. “More people have to be upset than anything because I really don’t think Pepsi is as strong of a product as Coke is.”
For other students, personal preference depends on their mood for the moment.
“It would really be a split,” Thomas Koenig, a junior Graphic Design major said. “It just depends on the mood I’m in, but I drink a lot of Mountain Dew, so I say Pepsi.”
Though the contract with Pepsi is exclusive, WT has secured Dr Pepper as the only Coke product on campus based off of the survey results.
“Regardless of what you get, 63 percent wanted Dr Pepper,” Barnes said. “So we told them, in order for us to enter into an agreement, you have to provide Dr Pepper.”
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