Pepsi or Coke on Campus: Does It Even Matter?

The battle between Pepsi and Coke, although trivial, seems to be never ending—especially on campus at the University of Maryland. However, the fight between the two companies is forced to be a moot point, because Pepsi reigns supreme in College Park.

In 2013 the university signed a contract with PepsiCo that committed our campus to only selling Pepsi products until at least 2023.  

“It was competitive bid process conducted by Procurement Office and there were multiple prospects,” said vice president of student affairs Linda Clement in regards to the Pepsi decision in an interview with The Diamondback in 2013.

A college campus making a deal with a beverage corporation isn’t necessarily a trend exclusive to Maryland.  Across the nation, students on college campuses find themselves in a Coca-Cola desert, or, on the other end of the spectrum, a land void of Pepsi.

It doesn’t seem like a huge change when thinking in terms of just Coke and Pepsi the beverages, but when you look a bit closer, it’s interesting to note all of the other products that are Pepsi-exclusive that you may not realize. All of the bottled fruit smoothies sold on campus are Naked brand, never Odwalla. You won’t find a bottle of Dasani water, only Aquafina. Craving an A&W root beer? Too bad, you’ll only find Mug. If you “want a want a Fanta” the closest you will get is an Orange Crush. Even Sprite is impossible to come by, replaced by Sierra Mist.

If a student wants a bottle of Coca-Cola or even Simply Orange brand orange juice instead of Tropicana, they have to venture off of the University’s grounds to the shops on route one or even further.

But, do students care about the campus’ love affair with PepsiCo? Or does the whole agreement go unnoticed?

“[Being a Pepsi campus] doesn’t bother me at all,” said Chloe Berman, a sophomore marketing major.

Mickey Brock, a sophomore biology major, also didn’t seem to care about the Pepsi exclusivity. “I like Pepsi and it doesn’t matter,” he said.

Others were less approving of the lack of Coke products on campus.

“Pepsi is just not even a last resort for me, so I prefer Coke,” said junior criminal justice major Ryan Smith.

Although unhappy about the fact that Maryland was a Pepsi campus, Ankur Naik, a senior marketing major, has found a way to see the annoyance in a more positive light.

“[Pepsi on campus] is annoying, but it made me drink less soda when I lived on campus because I hate Pepsi, so it’s not that bad,” he said.

No matter the general opinion for or against, it seems that students on the University of Maryland campus will be drinking Pepsi for most of the foreseeable future. The company’s logo will continue to decorate the fronts of drink machines around campus with its blue red and white, and students with be spending their dining points and their terpbucks on all of the products that PepsiCo has to offer.

Pepsi may be sweeter than Coke, but it seems that the campus may never be able to convince the entire student body to be sweet towards Pepsi.