Jun 142011
Authors: Erin Udell

After two decades as a “Pepsi school,” this summer marks a new chapter in CSU’s history as it enters into a unique 10-year partnership with Coca-Cola Refreshments.

As part of the contract, Coca-Cola will not only be the university’s new beverage provider, but will also grant scholarships in water stewardship and conservation while supporting, in part, scholarships and programming for the Alumni Association, CSU Athletics and the Division of Student Affairs.

“We are pleased to enter this long-term partnership with Coca-Cola,” said CSU Vice President of Operations Amy Parsons in a June 2 press release. “Extending well beyond typical beverage contracts, the originality and comprehensiveness of this agreement make it different from any beverage partnership in the country.”

“Coca-Cola’s support will benefit nearly all aspects of the university –– from academics to athletics –– andprovide CSU a variety of new marketing opportunities,” Parsons said.

As the sole student member of the Beverage/Vending RFP committee, Associated Students of CSU President Eric Berlinberg said the company’s level of commitment to the university would ultimately lead to a more strategic partnership.

“I’ve been on the phone everyday with Coke,” Berlinberg said. “They want to know what students want and what they want to see.”

Part of the company’s annual funds will be invested in the Beverage Management Institute, a new program in the College of Business, as well as in merchandising and new equipment for Moby Arena and Hughes Stadium.

When the contract begins on July 1, changes on campus will include RamCash and credit card readers at more than 175 campus vending machines and an opportunity to be the first college campus to try the new Coca-Cola Freestyle, a 125-flavor soda-dispensing machine.

These machines will be Energy Star compliant, learning traffic patterns and conserving energy. Sales commissions will support Student Affairs and Athletics.

Coca-Cola will provide compostable cups and bottles as well as send only hybrid electric vehicles to make campuswide deliveries.

“Amy (Parsons) looked at this differently from that past and asked for a lot — a lot more than a normal beverage contract would entail,” said Brad Bohlander, CSU spokesman. “Coke really stepped up and is excited to partner with CSU.”

“We’re all very excited to be working together and have Coke as a partner,” Bohlander said.

News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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