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Beyond the Bubbles: negotiating an educational partnership with a soft drink giant.

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Presentation on theme: "Beyond the Bubbles: negotiating an educational partnership with a soft drink giant."— Presentation transcript:

1 Beyond the Bubbles: negotiating an educational partnership with a soft drink giant

2 A college cafeteria is not going to stop serving soft drinks.* How can it use its soft drink provider to do more than dispense carbonated sugar water at a profit? Dancing with the devil? *Not a tuition driven college, anyway !

3 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu ABOUT GUSTAVUS A residential liberal arts college Located in rural southern Minnesota: corn and soybeans 2600 students, nearly all of whom live on campus; 11% U.S. students of color. A “middle class” college: our endowment is modest Our mission, core values and strategic plan emphasize service, social justice, environmental stewardship and wellness Students are moderately aware/committed to global justice issues; 50% study abroad, and we have majors in peace studies, gender studies, African studies, Latin American studies. BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

4 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu ABOUT THE GUSTAVUS DINING SERVICE BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract Approximately 6000 ala carte meals served daily Pay per item has reduced post- consumer waste by nearly 80% over traditional ‘all you can eat’ meal plans, HOWEVER… Many convenience store type items for purchase including 444,000 units of canned and bottled beverages annually Approximately 6000 ala carte meals served daily Pay per item has reduced post- consumer waste by nearly 80% over traditional ‘all you can eat’ meal plans, HOWEVER… Many convenience store type items for purchase including 444,000 units of canned and bottled beverages annually

5 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu ABOUT THE KITCHEN CABINET An advisory committee to the dining service director Membership comes from all campus constituencies Charge to the Kitchen Cabinet includes: consulting with the Director, at his/her request, on matters that involve ethical, socio-political, dietary, or pedagogical uses of the Dining Service; examining the role of the Dining Service in the College’s mission, and making recommendations about that role; supporting the Dining Service in supporting the mission, by educating the community about what the DS does. BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

6 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract THE END OF A CONTRACT After 15 years as a “Coke college,” our contract was expiring. How should we choose our next beverage provider?

7 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu COKE? PEPSI? JONES SODA? NOTA? Steve, supported by the Kitchen Cabinet, created a process for the community to participate in making this decision Prompted by a desire to make a decision based on something other than profit and product availability. Guided by the Dining Service’s aim to be at the center of the educational mission of the institution, and to use its work to embody the five core values. BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

8 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu COKE? PEPSI? JONES SODA? NOTA? Options we seriously considered included: No contract: buy our own equipment and purchase product from the cheapest source. (An expensive hassle.) No soft drinks at all: in a year characterized by “bottled water bans,” we explored the ramifications of getting rid of pop* altogether. (Our admission office said “hahahahahahahaha.”) “Someone else”: was there a small beverage company (say, Jones soda) that could handle a contract of even our relatively small size? (Steve said “hahahahahahahaha.”) BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract *Yes, we are Midwesterners

9 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu IF NOT PROFIT, THEN WHAT? What other factors should shape our choice of beverage provider? Concerns of our community included: “Coca-Colonialism” Health: the nutritional challenges of carbonated beverages Environmentalism: plastic waste on our own campus is the tip of the environmental iceberg Greenwashing: corporations using educational institutions as “human shields.” BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

10 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu SLIDE CATEGORY TITLE WHO IS THE DEVIL? We sought, in part, to find out: Is there an answer to the question, ‘who’s worse: Coke or Pepsi?” And by what measure(s)?

11 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY We employed a variety of tools to invite our community to help shape the request for proposals A “Dear Colleague” letter (copy available in electronic packet) A targeted letter, sent to individuals and constituencies we especially wanted to involve (e-packet) Cartoons! (find us on youtube!) BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

12 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu GUSTAVUS CHOOSES A BEVERAGE PROVIDER

13 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY Over the next 18 months, we gathered information from: Members of the Kitchen Cabinet, who researched the two viable vendors. Individual students, who emailed anecdotal information and sometimes more statistical info Two marketing classes, that conducted research on the community’s preferences. One goal: to “take the pulse” of the campus. What does matter to our students and why? How can and should we influence their priorities? BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

14 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY Marketing research classes, taught by Kathi Tunheim: Economics/Management 261, Organizational Behavior and Management Five-student teams conducted mission, vision, and values review for each company Conducted ‘woman/man-on-the-street’ interviews with students and staff Constructed Survey Monkey tool to assess community preference 1029 Responses – 92.5% from Students BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

15 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY (E/M 261 CONTINUED) And the answer is?... 66.6% prefer Coke or either beverage line Students phenomenally under report consumption (where do 444K drinks go?) Ecological concerns are moderately or very important to 73.7% of respondents Community involvement and civic responsibility are important to 61.5% of respondents 56.8% feel there is no difference in the values and general corporate practices of the corporations. 21.8% feel Pepsi is better ; 21.5% feel Coke is better 84.5% of respondents are not aware of or do not care about any negative or positive corporate activities 85.9% feel there are health implications associated with soda consumption BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

16 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS Our RFP (in e-packet) had an unusual structure: Began with description of mission, core values and strategic plan—and only then went into the specifics of our beverage needs. Asked respondents to “plan and suggest ways in which they can creatively, strategically, and financially partner with the College’s Academic goals and stated mission. While commitment to the institution with outright financial support is desirable, the College is very interested in hearing ways in which a Beverage Provider Partner will respond to the following [four requests].” BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

17 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS The four specific “asks”: In what ways will the beverage partner actively promote fitness and healthy lifestyles at Gustavus? How would the beverage partner share with the college their work and aspirations (as global corporations) toward a just and peaceful world? The College actively promotes and aspires to be a leader in the area of environmental stewardship. How might the partner share their own passion for the environment with the College…? Gustavus Adolphus College is seeking a beverage provider partner who will also engage the College as an educational partner. What creative educational means and efforts will the beverage partner commit to provide on an annual (or more frequent) basis? BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

18 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu DECISION 2012! Pepsi responds: Both companies observed that our proposal was different from any they had dealt with before….and….they appreciated the opportunity to think ‘differently’ in their approach to proposal generation. But… The unsuccessful proposal responded more traditionally, by designating a cash gift (read: Sponsorship) and inviting us to use it as we saw fit. They also used very dull pencils while proposing wholesale cost of goods. BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

19 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu DECISION 2012! Coke responds: Annual financial support for direct college operations $10,000.00 annual scholarship funding, disbursed at the discretion of VP for Enrollment Management. $20,000.00 annual Sustainability/Health Education Program, awarded by a committee of interested Gustavus faculty, staff, students and representative/s from Coke. $1000.00 annual ‘Live Positively Education Research Grant Program,’ the first of its kind. The grant will support Coca-Cola’s seven ‘Live Positively’ commitments: Beverages for every lifestyle; Active Healthy Living; Community; Energy Efficiency and Climate Protection; Sustainable Packaging; Water Stewardship; Workplace diversity, safety, respect of international human rights BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

20 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu LESSONS, THOUGHTS, HOPES How does positive social change happen when you engage with a corporate giant? The fears: Greenwashing Capitulating compromise Lip service of engagement with our campus but no follow through BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

21 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu LESSONS, THOUGHTS, HOPES How does positive social change happen when you engage with a corporate giant? The hopes: Constructive compromise (not human shields for corporate greenwashing) Think Jane Addams! Ninja moves David invites Goliath to try a different way: the little guy affects corporate culture (Can we put ads in their bathroom stalls advertising Gustavus?) BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

22 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu LESSONS, THOUGHTS, HOPES Working with students: some lessons learned Our politically engaged students 18 to 22 years old often tend to be all-or-nothing thinkers, uninterested in compromise. It is difficult to make students believe that they genuinely have a part in a decision as big as this; they find it more believable (and less work) to say “The Man” makes all the decisions and their input is irrelevant. We tend to like to go to bed when their meetings are just starting. This process has tremendous potential on a campus like ours. BEYOND THE BUBBLES: Gustavus Beverage Contract

23 Thanks to Gustavus Kitchen Cabinet; Professor Kathi Tunheim; Vice President Ken Westphal; President Jack Ohle; and all the community members who contributed their thoughts Presentation materials available at http://kitchencabinet.blog.gustavus.edu/conference- presentation-materials/

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25 Section Title with Photo Background [ PHOTO BOX ]

26 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu Section Title with Photo Background (added footer) [ PHOTO BOX ]

27 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu [ INFORMATION SLIDE OVER PHOTO BOX ] SLIDE HEADLINE Main Copy Point Main Copy Point #2 Copy Sub-point A Copy Sub-point B

28 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu SLIDE HEADLINE Main Copy Point Main Copy Point #2 Copy Sub-point A Copy Sub-point B Beverage coolers abound!

29 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGEgustavus.edu PHOTO BOX SLIDE HEADLINE Main Copy Point Main Copy Point #2 Copy Sub-point A Copy Sub-point B 600 Seat Evelyn Young Dining Room

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