Swarthmore College Removes Some Coca-Cola Products
By Melissa Bertosh
The Swarthmore Phoenix
February 16, 2006

On Feb. 15, the college announced through a press release that bottled Coca-Cola products will be replaced with Pepsi drinks at Essie Mae’s Snack Bar and the Science Center and Kohlberg coffee bars over spring break as the first step in eliminating Coke from Swarthmore’s campus.

The recent victory of the Kick Coke campaign illustrates the hard work and perseverance of campaign organizers.

“It was determined last semester that there would be no cost for the school in switching from Coke products to Pepsi products in the coffee bars and Essie Mae’s,” said Camila Leiva ’09, addressing the campaign’s focus of this semester.

The decisive meeting was held last Wednesday between students, President Al Bloom, Vice President Maurice Eldridge ’61 and Associate Vice President for Facilities Stuart Hain.

Another letter will be sent to inform Coke about the actions here on campus and will reiterate a demand for an independent investigation into the human rights allegations abroad.

The press release was drafted by the students, edited by Maurice Eldridge and adjusted by News and Information to put it into the standard language and structure of college press releases.

Although all college administrators have expressed their support, students have worked closely with Hain throughout the campaign.

“Stu Hain has been the ‘point person’ for the administration in discussing the issues with the Kick Coke Campaign group,” Eldridge said.

Consultation with the president’s senior staff, as well as Student Council, has also played a part.

“We felt that there needed to be a student-centered channel for issue of this nature, to be sure that there is a significant regard for the issue on campus,” Eldridge said.

Flyers will be posted at the coffee bars and Essie Mae’s prior to Coke’s removal, informing students that of the upcoming switch and listing the alternatives that will replace the Coke products.

In addition, campaigners will be tabling in Sharples and hosting study breaks to answer the questions of students and staff.

“One of our most important goals is to impact Coca-Cola’s image and pressure them to clean it up through an independent investigation in Colombia,” said Ruth Schultz ’09.

She expressed hopes of gaining media attention, which would effectively pressure Coke to address its allegations of human rights abuses.

Both NYU and the University of Michigan have recently received media attention due to their successful campaigns.

The ultimate goal of the Kick Coke campaign is to have the school cut their contract with Coca-Cola, which expires in 2007.

However, both Hain and Eldridge said there are currently no plans to change this contract though this course of action has not yet been ruled out.

A letter sent last semester to the Coca-Cola Corporation by the college explained the campus-wide concern regarding Coke’s behavior in Colombia and India and requested that the company submit to an independent investigation.

“To date, we have had no response from Coke,” Hain said.

The student body has been responsive to the campaign, with more than 20 percent of students supporting the Kick Coke petition, totaling over 350 students signatures.

“Most students are very receptive to learning about the issues in Colombia and India and have a genuine concern for the communities there,” Zoe Bridges-Curry ’09 said.

Some students welcomed the change based on taste, regardless of politics.

“Personally, I prefer Pepsi but Coca-Cola had more variety, which Sharples lacks. I’m torn, but now we’ll have Mountain Dew,” Yongjun Heo ’09 said.

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