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The Pepsi Tyranny Continues

In the summer of 1992, Penn State needed cash and signed an exclusive 10-year $14 million deal with Pepsi. Since that time, Pepsi has been the exclusive provider of soft drinks on all of Penn State’s campuses, including vending machines, dining halls, convenience stores, and advertising ventures.

I know what you’re thinking: “The only good thing Pepsi has ever made is Mountain Dew. And everyone knows you shouldn’t drink Mountain Dew. What a relief it is that the contract is up this year so Penn State can switch to ‘America’s drink’ and just generally a better company — Coca-Cola.”

Unfortunately, Penn State wasn’t thinking that way. Although the contract hasn’t been finalized yet, Penn State is working to secure another 10-year agreement with Pepsi to be ready by the new fiscal year which starts July 1. Back in November, both Coke and Pepsi submitted offers to Penn State, but evidently Coke didn’t make a good enough case.

“The University was fortunate to receive two excellent proposals, this also made the decision process more difficult. Pepsi came closest to meeting the requirements and needs of the University,” said Dan Sieminski, associate Vice President for Finance and Business, through a University release. “PepsiCo’s overall product mix better matches what our community is asking for in terms of soft drinks and sports drinks. The fact that Pepsi was already on campus also meant that there wouldn’t be a need for a lengthy transition period.”

It seems like Penn State is bending over for the incumbent, even if the product is inferior. Essentially, the University is saying, “My girlfriend has no teeth and is addicted to sniffing gasoline, but she already has the spare key to the house, so I can’t get rid of her.” Okay, so maybe Pepsi isn’t that bad, but change would certainly be ideal.

According to a University spokesperson, Penn State was one of the first Universities to have an exclusive agreement with a drink vendor. The money from the first contract was used to help build the Bryce Jordan Center, the library, the HUB, and other University buildings. In exchange for that capital, Penn State students have been blessed with easy access to fantastic PepsiCo beverages such as Propel, SoBe, and Lipton.

But seriously, if you live on campus, it looks like you’ll have to make the trek down to McClanahan’s to get your hands on a Coke for the foreseeable future. Either that or sneak into the Federal Pasture Research Labs across from the Creamery. But we didn’t tell you to do it.

About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]


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