I was on the LRT heading south last week, when I passed the 8 St. station. From time to time I stepped off the train at the Mac's on the corner of 7 Ave. and 8 St. whenever I felt thirsty. Last week it was no different. However, when I went up to the drink coolers, the large selection was, to be honest, a little overwhelming. Row upon row of drinks, but it was comforting to make a beeline for the Coke freezer and grab a 600 mL bottle of Sprite Ice.
I paid for the drink, and headed back to the platform. As I was drinking the cold mint-flavoured soda, I realized it had been quite a while since the university signed their deal with Pepsi.
The next day, I hit up the Gauntlet archive and, sure enough, in the Sept. 25, 1998 issue there was a story on the finalization of the deal. In this deal, the university handed sole rights to the cold drink supply to Pepsi in exchange for money for providing research grants and funding other initiatives.
But when you look around, what has it really done for us? Where are the magic things all that money should be doing? In an era of nothing but government funding cuts and no relief in sight, this money has seemingly vanished. Quality of education has declined and, adding insult to injury, a $50 million budget cut was implemented.
So where is this Pepsi money?
In the 1998 article a university spokesperson stated that the money had gone to fellowships and research grants, as well as divvying a share to the Students' Union and the Graduate Students' Association.
So where is it now? In this time of need for more money, one would expect this huge business to be generating it's share--at least enough to avoid such large budget cuts. But since terms were never disclosed, no one except administration and Pepsi know the exact numbers.
To be honest, if Pepsi has enough money to toss around that they can hold such a pathetic advertisement-slash-game show as "Play for a Billion" while gypping a poorly-funded university, then something fishy is going on.
To be honest, Pepsi isn't exactly the best tasting soft drink out there, but unless we feel like filling up with water, there isn't much choice.
Clubs, organizations and other events on campus are served with Pepsi products. To some it might make no difference, but for a person who has grown up drinking Coke products long before coming into contact with anything Pepsi, it's not exactly an easy adjustment. Further, to have my tastebuds sold out before I even got to this university, sold out to a company whose flagship product and all its variations I find unpalatable, is unfair. To get money from it and not have anything to show for it doubles that unfairness.
No matter what numbers it may produce, there is hardly any physical evidence that the money from Pepsi is at work on campus. In this time where the university is headed towards being more "research oriented," it might be good to remember some money could be used to do other things, like refurbishing run-down classrooms and to replace trailers with actual lecture theatres. So if there are indeed changes, I'd like to see them.
Perhaps we would be better off having drink competition on campus. For one, it'd be better for the taste buds, and it probably wouldn't mean paying $1.63 for a tolerable bottle of green tea at StÃ¶r all the time.