MacDonald: Take the Coca-Cola out of CSU vending machines

Alexandra MacDonald

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

At Colorado State University, most students are required to live at least one year in on-campus housing. What this entails is a higher tuition rate, a roommate and a specified meal plan. Students can swipe in at any dining hall within their rate and receive options catered to their specific needs. 


CSU is adamant about expressing a clean eating policy and totes comparatively better food than what is seen at some other universities. However, Coca-Cola can still be found in vending machines all over campus. Why does the University provide its students with a beverage with a net worth of $222.49 billion even though it doesn’t uphold the same values? 

The University is eager to garner partnerships not just keeping students in mind, but bringing in more profit.

So, while the intake of a can or bottle of Coke is a decision up to the consumer, it’s still questionable why CSU has accepted a deal that doesn’t align with CSU’s Eat Well options offered to students.”

According to Denver Business Journal, CSU and Coca-Cola partnered up in a “sweeping” 10-year deal in 2011 that would allow them to provide funding to CSU’s scholarships, academic interests and global marketing.

Coca-Cola said in this article that it aims to fund CSU’s involvement in water conservation, and that a portion of its annual funds would be funneled into CSU’s College of Business for a new Beverage Management Institute. 

Coca-Cola’s partnership is an investment into CSU’s green initiative, so the cups and bottles they place in the more than 175 vending machines on campus follow a compostable or up to 30% plant-derived material policy. Coca-Cola promised to use hybrid electric vehicles to make deliveries on campus as well. 

According to a Denver Post article posted not long after the deal was made, the $5.2 million deal is said to bring in $500,000 annually for CSU. Coca-Cola has become the sole beverage provider of CSU after their deal with Pepsi expired, so the income for Coca-Cola on the CSU campus is without competition. 

It doesn’t take a degree in nutrition to figure out that a 12 ounce can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, the amount of sugar a person should consume in a day is capped at around 36 grams for men and 25 grams for women.

So, while the intake of a can or bottle of Coke is a decision up to the consumer, it’s still questionable why CSU has accepted a deal that doesn’t align with CSU’s eat well options offered to students. 

If CSU is so eager to push healthier eating as an option for its students, providing a Nutrition Center for students to make health appointments at and working to provide students with a recreation center with multiple facilities to exercise, the only reason they would accept a partnership with a multi-billion dollar company is to make more money. 

Education is a for-profit business, and CSU is not above that statement. 


Alexandra MacDonald can be reached at or on Twitter @alexandramacc.