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HDS Plans Switch To Pepsi

By Jerome Mccluskey

Citing a history of poor service from Coca-Cola, Harvard Dining Services (HDS) officials have moved to sever their long-standing relationship with the beverage company.

HDS Director Michael P. Berry told the Committee on House Life Monday that all dining halls will begin serving Pepsi, instead of Coke, this summer.

Berry said that Coca-Cola's poor service record compelled him to make the decision despite the College's 30 year relationship with the beverage company and Coke's popularity among students.

"They've been bad on deliveries and very bad on support," Berry said in an interview yesterday. "We have been with Coca-Cola since we started serving carbonated beverages in the sixties."

Berry added that Coca-Cola's reluctance to participate in campus marketing initiatives, similar to plans now in place at other campuses, was an example of the company's lack of support.

Berry said he talked with various company representatives, including the president of Coca-Cola's New England office and the vice-president of Coca-Cola North America, but was unable to reach an agreement.

"We've always used Coca-Cola because we assumed it was the preferred product. As of this summer, we'll transition to Pepsi," he said.

Berry said that the enthusiasm Pepsi has shown is a good omen.

"They've been much more forth-coming to support the account," he said. "They provided prizes at the Loker opening."

Although Pepsi products will not be available in most dining halls until this summer, they are already being served in Annenberg Hall and in Loker Commons.

A major reason for the switch also stems from the financial support Pepsi has pledged to Harvard. Specifically, in each of the five years of its contract with HDS, Pepsi has agreed to donate $25,000 to Harvard for student activities. From that amount, $10,000 will go to Undergraduate Council-social activities, $10,000 to Phillips Brooks House initiatives and $5,000 for other student groups.

While officials have reason to like the agreement with Pepsi, they said the decision to switch from Coca-Cola products was difficult.

"We were disappointed that Coke didn't meet the challenge that we put out to them, and we reluctantly switched to Pepsi," Berry said.

Student reaction to the switch was mixed yesterday, but it was divided between those already accustomed to drinking Pepsi and those, in the Houses, who continue to drink Coke.

"I think I prefer Coke," Adams House resident Pierre A. Connelly '96 said yesterday. "I can't remember the last time that I had Pepsi."

But some students in Annenberg Hall said they are glad dining services made the switch.

"I like Pepsi better," said Enko N. Kiprilov '99, as he took a sip of his Pepsi.

And next fall, Coke lovers will still be able to find their favorite beverage in the College's vending machines.

Coca-Cola's contract with Harvard regarding supply of the vending machines lasts for two more years.

-Chana R. Schoenberger contributed to the reporting of this article.

A major reason for the switch also stems from the financial support Pepsi has pledged to Harvard. Specifically, in each of the five years of its contract with HDS, Pepsi has agreed to donate $25,000 to Harvard for student activities. From that amount, $10,000 will go to Undergraduate Council-social activities, $10,000 to Phillips Brooks House initiatives and $5,000 for other student groups.

While officials have reason to like the agreement with Pepsi, they said the decision to switch from Coca-Cola products was difficult.

"We were disappointed that Coke didn't meet the challenge that we put out to them, and we reluctantly switched to Pepsi," Berry said.

Student reaction to the switch was mixed yesterday, but it was divided between those already accustomed to drinking Pepsi and those, in the Houses, who continue to drink Coke.

"I think I prefer Coke," Adams House resident Pierre A. Connelly '96 said yesterday. "I can't remember the last time that I had Pepsi."

But some students in Annenberg Hall said they are glad dining services made the switch.

"I like Pepsi better," said Enko N. Kiprilov '99, as he took a sip of his Pepsi.

And next fall, Coke lovers will still be able to find their favorite beverage in the College's vending machines.

Coca-Cola's contract with Harvard regarding supply of the vending machines lasts for two more years.

-Chana R. Schoenberger contributed to the reporting of this article.

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