In July of 2002, the University of Vermont began an agreement with Coca-Cola where Coca-Cola has "near-exclusive" beverage rights to the campus. Not suprisingly, "Money was the determining factor in choosing Coke as a sponsor".
Recently students at the University of Vermont and throughout the U.S. have been pushing for Coca-Cola to deal with its connections Colombian bottling plants and the pattern of violence against union leaders in Colombia. Over 3,000 Colombian unionists have been killed since 1986 and three of every five unionists kill in the world are Colombian. Coca-Cola bottling subsidiaries give paramalitary groups (responsible for such violence) access to plant floors.
Additionally, UVM students who have been "abroad" have witnessed, especially in the "Global South", and become skeptical of Coca-Cola's business practices. Bottled soft drinks with Coke labels are usually seen as alternatives to communities with polluted or inadequate local drinking water supplies. Do the international faces drinking Coke seen so prominently in Coke's commercials actually have a choice of what to drink? Do you?
In the summer of 2003, an official boycott of Coca-Cola has preceded to end investements, contracts and consumption of Coca-Cola beverages. Perhaps UVM's contract with Coke (apparently using "much of the funding for financial aid, student programs and athletics") can be leveraged to ends Coke's union violence in Colombia. Here are drinks to avoid drinking on campus:
Colombia Action Network: Boycott Killer Coke!
boycott-coke - Coordination mailing list for the Coca-Cola boycott.
Back to the Main Page.Questions, comments: sparc at uvm dot edu