Swarthmore College Removes Some Coca-Cola Products
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
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
“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.
FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. India Resource Center is making this article available in our efforts to advance the understanding of corporate accountability, human rights, labor rights, social and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.