Students trying to remove “killer” Coke

Students for Peace and Global Justice are working to make sure that UVM buys products from companies who follow its ideals of ethical and environmentally sound practices.However, they are currently working to remove Coca Cola from the UVM campus. Students for Peace and Global Justice have joined the US campaign against Coca Cola called “Killer Coke”. Coca Cola’s contract with UVM will expire in a few years and students are working on removing Coke from campus, Kayla Decarr said. “Coke has a lot of human rights and environmental abuses which it has committed all around the world,” Decarr said. Schools such as NYU, and the University of Illinois no longer sell Coca-Cola on campus. “We are seeking your help to stop a cycle of murders, kidnappings, and torture of union leaders and organiz?ers involved in daily life-and-death struggles at Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia, South America,” according to killercoke.org. One of the group’s leaders, Justin Hurtt said, “Coca-Cola products are distributed by an evil company, and we shouldn’t be buying their products.”There are social injustices in India and Colombia, which are caused by the Coca-Cola company, Hurtt said. In India, Coca Cola is depleting groundwater, and poor farmers’ crops are dying.Currently, nearly all drinks on campus are owned by Coca Cola, save for coffee, tea, milk, cider, and fresh squeezed juices. Coca Cola owns Odwalla, Vitamin Water and Dasani. Students who try to avoid soda are surprised to hear that these products are owned by Coca-Cola. UVM freshman Megan Rabinowich said “I’ve been drinking Odwalla since I came to UVM, but after I found out that it was owned by Coca-Cola, I stopped buying their drinks because I’ve heard about the campaign against Coca-Cola.”Hurtt said that the contract with Coca-Cola states that wherever drinks are sold, 80 percent of that space must be given to Coca-Cola products. If UVM decides to make a contract with Pepsi, they want only 40 percent of drink space to belong to Pepsi. Hurtt said that one of the group’s goals right now is to find other high end producers and distributors, and he said that “They are definitely out there.” The group wants to sup?port local beverage makers and bring healthier drinks to campus. The group has a few other distributors in mind, such as Jones Soda, Honest Tea, Naked, and Vermont Soda Company, who makes soft drinks and sports drinks. Ray Rogers, the campaign director of Killer Coke, is to come and speak at UVM.Research contributed by Sarah Rosenthal