Kent campus to switch to Pepsi products

Morgan Wright

With Kent State preparing to finalize a five-year contract with PepsiCo, students and faculty won’t be living on “The Coke Side of Life” for much longer.

Kent State announced Monday that it would not be renewing Coca-Cola Co.’s previous ten-year contract.

“We’re excited to work with Pepsi and to bring what students like to Kent State University,” said Greg Jarvie, the university’s vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, in a press release.

Dining Services conducted taste tests with incoming freshmen and their families during Destination Kent State. It found that participants preferred Pepsi products – more specifically, Mountain Dew.

Notable PepsiCo brands


Diet Pepsi

Dr. Pepper

Mountain Dew

Sierra Mist



Orange Crush

SoBe Lifewater

AMP Energy



Students on campus have mixed thoughts on the switch from Coke to Pepsi, most welcoming the new beverages.

Emily Jackson, sophomore pre-human development and family studies major, said she looks forward to the conversion.

“I’m excited for Pepsi to come to Kent,” Jackson said. “Change is good. I don’t see a big difference between the two, but I do really like Pepsi.”

Others, such as junior accounting major Melanie Misconish, are sad to depart from their comfort drink.

“I’m glad I don’t have a meal plan anymore,” Misconish said. “I already miss my Diet Coke.”

Thaer Husien, sophomore English major, said he doesn’t show much preference but also doesn’t understand the change.

“(Coca-Cola is) more like a traditional brand as opposed to Pepsi,” Husien said, “and the switch just doesn’t seem necessary, since Kent has been known as a Coca-Cola supporter for years now. In the end though, it’s just a brand name.”

The university picked Pepsi for many reasons, cost being one.

“We wanted to keep the cost of the product as low as we could for students,” said Steve Storck, senior associate vice president of finance and administration, according to a press release.

“The product price of Pepsi will be similar or less than the Coke products,” said Emily Vincent, director of university media relations.

A benefit from Pepsi is the company’s Dream Machine recycling program. Students, faculty and guests can recycle their Pepsi products and, in return, receive points redeemable for prizes and discounts.

The contract begins at the start of August, and has an anticipated value of $6.2 million over a five-year period. The university will begin transitioning vending machines, fountain dispensers and other advertisements beginning next week and continuing for a six-week period. By the start of the fall semester, Kent State hopes to be fully operational with Pepsi products.

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Morgan Wright at [email protected].