Coca-Cola becomes university’s exclusive provider

By Sarah Griffin

Rider has entered a 10-year partnership with Liberty Coca-Cola, according to a June 13 press release from the university.

Liberty Coca-Cola will now be the official drink provider for Rider, meaning that the only soft drinks and other bottled beverages provided by the university will be products from the company, since the deal took effect on July 1.

Instead of Pepsi and Gatorade, products by PepsiCo Inc., students will only have the option to purchase Coke and Powerade, products from Liberty Coca-Cola, at official university restaurants and vending machines. 

 Student athletes will also be given Powerade during school-sponsored athletic events, instead of Gatorade.

Rider’s Vice President for Facilities and University Operations, Mike Reca, was part of the team responsible for the partnership. “We had Pepsi here for 27 years, so we had to make a transition, which is never fun when you have a partner that long,” Reca said. “Pepsi was great, but Coke’s deal was better.”

Reca said that the better financial deal along with other aspects is what lead Rider to ultimately switch providers.

According to Reca, in April, facilities and university operations formed a committee of fifteen people composed of faculty, staff and students that listened to presentations from PepsiCo Inc. and Liberty Coca-Cola on why each company would be better for the university.

Reca said that after the presentations, the committee voted unanimously to make the switch from PepsiCo Inc. to Liberty Coca-Cola.

Part of the deal included replacing all of the manual soda dispensers with the electronic dispensers Liberty Coca-Cola makes.

Some Rider students have found that, although the machines have the capacity to offer a wide variety of soft drinks, some drinks have been consistently out of service since the machines were introduced on campus. 

Reca said that the interview was the first he had ever heard of the drinks being out, adding, “when these issues arise, it is my hope that the folk who are enjoying themselves in Cran’s go to the managers or tell somebody on the staff that something’s been out.”

“It should be changed immediately,” Reca admitted about the drinks missing from the Coke Freestyle machines.

According to Kylie McMahon, a fifth-year student studying in the Athletic Leadership Program and a student-athlete on the swim team, “Rider made a good move.”

She had minimal critiques, such as the powerade bottles being “harder to squeeze and get the drink out versus the Gatorade ones.” McMahon then followed up, “I think change is good, so if this is the direction they want to head in, then I’m all for it. I do like the machines they have in Cranberry’s.”

Senior health sciences major Giavanna Lupi said, “My preference is Coke products. I am more familiar with Gatorade than Powerade, but I can drink either or.”

According to Reca, The University’s partnership with Coca-Cola has the same opportunity to be renewed in ten years as the PepsiCo Inc. partnership did.

Originally printed in the 9/21 issue.

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